Thursday, 29 March 2007

Saving the Park



I've written before about saving our country park here. This morning I received a fistful of passionate letters from 9 year olds about how important their park is to them. Today was a big day for its future. We met with over 50 representatives of different organisations - from the National Trust, Natural England, local charities, Wildlife experts, preservation experts, local councils, the Friends etc etc to have a brainstorming on its future. We brainstormed for 4 1/2 hours.

This is not an easy problem. As ever there is not enough money in local government to go around,and local councils tend to have huge bureaucratic problems. However none of us want to close much loved open spaces. I have come away with many questions - but also many useful suggestions. It is also again clear that voluntary organisations are under huge pressures. We have made progress and on a vote the vast majority of those present feel that we will find a solution - but it will be hard work.

The government have just announced that they won't cap councils this year - but only after we all agreed to keep our council tax below 5% rises - the threat still remains for next year. Those Tory run councils with taxes well below the national average but cost demands now nearing national average remain stuck in a budget that doesn't balance .

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