Friday, 2 February 2007
Saving our Countryside
It has been a busy month as a local councillor. Most of this month has been spent trying to save our country park. As more and more of our countryside is eaten up by development it is incredibly important that we fight to protect it.
Country parks close to cities are not only loved by many but they play an important role in education. Furthermore education is critical in bridging the divide between city and rural dwellers.
But public spaces are expensive to maintain and like most councils across the South of England money from central government and tax doesn't keep up with increasing costs. So how should these parks and other community facilities be funded?
Maggie's first election motto was "You can't spend money you don't have." A statement that is just as true today as it was back in 1979. (Remember that when you worry about the UK's increasing personal debt burden).
It is especially true for local councils - they aren't allowed to borrow money, often can't raise the same sort of funds that charities or trusts can, they are tied up in bureaucratic regulations and all too often Councils can not keep costs under control. I for one don't want the council tax to keep spiralling out of control. Local government has many pressures on its finances; caring for the elderly, looking after children with disabilities, collecting our bins must be some of the top priorities. I would like to find a solution to the "park and leisure services" quandary that brings in members of the public and the private sector.
So if you find I'm light on blog for the next few weeks its because I'm raising money, finding sponsors, encouraging volunteers, appealing on the Radio and TV, negotiating management contracts and putting my wellies on. All to save our country park. But I want to do it without using more tax payers money!