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Bonkers Blog October 2015

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31 October - Cart before the horse?

It seemed a little odd to find that vehicles crossing the Cray in Bexley Village are being counted. Planning permission is already granted and work on a temporary footbridge will start in November.

Why the sudden interest in numbers?

VanA similar technique is being employed for Old Farm Park. Bexley council’s announcement on 10th February 2015 that it planned to sell it was reported on Bonkers a week later and picked up by the News Shopper on the 24th.

Since then there has been a petition, strong arguments in the council chamber and a campaigning website.

Bexley’s Conservative policy from 2006 until only a couple of years ago was primarily focused on fooling residents into believing council tax is low and keeping itself in power and crippling inward investment with its isolationist policy. Belatedly it realised it was running out of money.

Inward investment cannot be summoned up immediately which leaves the borough with a massive funding gap. By selling land the council hopes to raise more than £20 million with Old Farm Park in Sidcup providing more than half of it.

Their whole financial strategy would fall apart if the park is not sold for housing development and there is no time to change course.

Bexley council is therefore pulling out all the stops to defend its position. Having lost the consultation process 1,361 to nil it is resorting to desperate measures. Counting the number of park visitors. It has employed Ward Security, the company it used to pay to keep parks secure, to have a man sit in a van at the park entrance with a click counter in one hand and a book in the other.

A bit late in the day for the council to be thinking of the people it is supposed to serve don’t you think? The campaigners have more details on their website.

All seven of the public questions at next Wednesday’s council meeting are park sale related and most for cabinet member Peter Craske. Will they be honestly answered or will the filibuster rule? In the old days Craske could be replied upon to insult the questioner but webcasts and microphones have put paid to that. A shame from my point of view, meetings were far more exciting back then.
Photo used with permission of Old Farm Park campaign spokesman.


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