It’s only a month ago that I pondered rejoining Erith & Thamesmead
Conservative Association, I don’t suppose they would have me but I even mentioned it in a
conversation with Councillor Alex Sawyer, but how could anyone associate
themselves with such a bunch of liars?
According to the Erith & Thamesmead Conservative’s website the Belvedere Beach to be constructed next year is all Conservative candidate Anna Firth’s idea. Well I went to all her meetings on the subject (and all the Council meetings too) and had several private discussions with Anna while the Tory axe was being held over the Splash Park and nothing like The Beach was ever mentioned.
The lies told on that Conservative web page have all the hallmarks of Councillor Philip Read (Northumberlandheath) and he is quoted on it as saying
It was unfortunate that the Labour Councillors and the short-sighted campaign funded and run by their Party did not seek to engage constructively at the early stages of this process. Instead, they preferred to stand on the sidelines throwing metaphorical stones.
As a result, they helped nobody and let down those they purport to represent. The only constructive contribution came from Anna Firth the Conservative candidate in Erith & Thamesmead at last May’s general election and now the Conservative Party’s local Parliamentary Spokesperson.
Anna and the Conservative Party put forward the suggestion that has led to finding a way to develop the park’s potential for year round use rather than for just two or three months. Some malicious ill-informed idiots would like people to believe we planned to sell the park. That was a lie peddled whilst we worked hard to create a playground that will be unique and different with an educational and developmental bias including areas such as sensory play which is so important for many children.
So a campaign to save the much loved Splash Park headed up by Faye Ockleford was short-sighted and not constructive? Not being constructive was Bexley Council taking a unilateral decision without consultation to close the Splash Park and not offering any alternative.
Without the public meetings hastily organised by Faye with the assistance of her local Councillors there would have been no campaign and no Belvedere Beach. It was Labour Councillor Daniel Francis who identified most of the funds now diverted to the Beach. It wasn’t her fault but Anna Firth’s funding ideas came to nothing.
The Belvedere Beach will cost almost exactly the same as a refurbished Splash Park but will be cheaper to maintain and can be open all year.
It is true that some people feared that Bexley Council would sell one of the Belvedere playgrounds but apart from that everything Councillor Philip Read says on the E&T website is a lie and it is disappointing that Anna Firth appears to be happy to associate herself with them.
The Belvedere Beach should be an unmitigated good news story but the dead hand of Councillor Read ensures that the excellent proposals put forward by Council officers are soured by his determination to rewrite history.