In a recent email to executive councillor for recreation Julie Smith, our vicechairman Martin Thomson wrote:
“We hope that a spirit of shared information and collaboration can be the hallmark of 2009 and, while we will do our best to achieve this, we also look to members and officers to encourage this”.
Therefore, the JGA committee was dismayed to find plans for several major projects on Jesus Green going before committee for approval - WITHOUT ANY CONSULTATION WITH US.
These were plans to install a 'high wire zone' , a biodiversity zone and expand the skate park on Jesus Green (completely separate to any lottery proposals), so committee members Richard Price and Peter Constable attended a community services scrutiny meeting on January 15.
It was here we learned for the first time that there are several ADDITIONAL developments planned for Jesus Green
- a £74,500 informal games area
-a £138,000 refurbishment of the park ---- both pending the HLF bid
+ a multi-games games area costing £95,000 and a £185,000 Jesus Green play area, which are to be included in a new procurement process.
All these items had apparently been put before a West/Central area committee and were now going before the executive councillor for arts and recreation for approval.
This was the first time the JGA had heard about these plans - despite the fact we were set up (using a city council grant) with the very purpose of improving consultation with the public over Jesus Green. It is quite staggering that these significant changes only come to our attention when they are being approved at committee level.
There is great disappointment among committee members that the spirit of cooperation and consultation promised by the council has not been backed up with action. Why was no member of the committe told about these plans?
Instead, we are expected to trawl through every line of the 450 pages of community services scrutiny report (which was admittedly in the public domain) to discover what they have planned for the green.
We have been assured that despite the approval of all these plans, this is only the green light so that consultation can begin. Can we not have consultation first? So plans are drawn up, officer time devoted to these ideas and it is only then that they ask whether people want these things. Surely this is the wrong way round?
FOR AN EXTENSIVE REPORT ON THE NEW JESUS GREEN PLANS, PLEASE GO TO
http://www.rtaylor.co.uk/more-threats-to-the-green-space-on-jesus-green.html -courtesy of citizen blogger Richard Taylor