From last week's councillor's blog.'The meeting about Boston Manor Park was lively, much as I expected. As a non-expert, I figure that if our own council parks people, Heritage Lottery, Historic England, landscape architects, professional ecologists come up with a plan after a lot of consultation, it won’t be far wrong but this is not always how people see it. I’ve worked quite hard over the years to try and improve engagement between the bevy of experts and local people who often have a different perspective and deserve to be heard.It’s apparent that there’s a disconnect in BMP, but I’m hoping the increased public engagement (and reacting to public views where appropriate) plus the park looking better as spring growth revives it, will help bring about a meeting of minds. Of course, not everyone will be satisfied, but I’m getting a few quiet appreciations of the changes amongst many protests.'Then read the article on this week's front page from Chris Longhurst re the future of Boston Manor Park.There appears to be a bit more than a 'disconnect' where this issue is concerned, and I fear Hounslow have a lot to learn and have given up listening or even caring what park users, residents and the stalwarts of the Friends group think.At the same time as this appalling state of affairs rumbles on, Hounslow are pushing the idea of 'Environmental Champions', we are told that they want people to get involved with various ideas in their communities to improve the environment - such as litter picks and wildflower meadows and tree planting, all laudable aims. However, there exists a network of volunteer groups already doing these things - a lot of them are local Friends groups, so the question is why not work with what you have and bring these ideas together? Why keep re-inventing the wheel. Of course any criticism brings forth accusations of 'dissing' the council or 'holding a grudge'. To say a number of people are fed-up with this attitude that does not allow for any independence of thought and has to be run by Hounslow, who of course have a shortage of staff which means many people spending hours trying to contact the living via e-mail, this is exacerbated by Covid - which is now the 'go to' excuse for all and sundry.Whether Hounslow want to admit it or not - they have dropped a real clanger where Boston Manor is concerned, and there are many of us who are absolutely fed-up to the back teeth with this heavy handed way of doing things. 'Disconnect'? that's putting it mildly.
Vanessa Smith ● 11d2 Comments