Saturday, June 23, 2018

Barkingside’s Green Elephant

Today, Saturday 23 June, Ilford South’s loss was Barkingside’s gain. Our £2million (of taxpayer’s money) revamped town square (the Ken Aston Square) hosted the mini-Green Fair that was otherwise due to be held in Melbourne Field Valentines Park but was re-located due to “difficulties” with Vision and Redbridge council.

I think we can mark it down as a successful event, mostly due to the efforts of an intrepid band of unpaid volunteers. Plenty of footfall in the square itself and all along the high street, with the new Waffle bar where the old Post Office was doing what looked like a roaring trade and Begonia’s Planet Falafel on the square itself running out of their vegetarian offerings. Redbridge Music Lounge where there with an eclectic mix of foot tapping tunes and they are returning next Saturday for the Mid-summer Music fest. These fellas seemed to be enjoying themselves too.

Sadly, though, this is a rarity. Our council and Vision have not, as yet, woken up to the opportunity that this expensive facility offers them. Down in Ilford town centre on the pedestrian precinct there is a regular market and what is known as a community pitch, which is regularly booked up and provides an income/profit to the council coffers.

Down there it’s been going on for quite a while and the processes and procedures for utility services, health and safety risk assessments etc, are all in place and running like clockwork requiring little officer time. Up here in Barkingside it’s a whole different story. Nobody knows who’s in charge of what or how to get things organised or done. This requires officer time, officer time is money, and our council are short of that commodity. So, nothing much happens. Unless you get a tenatious organiser.

“Speculate to accumulate” requires an up-front input, which is what keeps the rich (councils), rich and the poor (councils), poor.

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