Author Topic: Just who will be left to look after our open spaces  (Read 49917 times)

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Offline Richard Beale

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Just who will be left to look after our open spaces
« on: October 25, 2011, 08:59:43 PM »
Rumour has it that 9 months after the last round of redundancies, the Parks Department Team is yet again the target for further cut backs.

As I know they often visit TS I'd like to let them know I haven't forgotten them and that my thougths are with them as they undergo the same treatment we all had to deal with last December.

The news has left me agasht at the plight of Swindon open spaces, parks and outdoor environment, even more so than when I was made redundant, who or what is going to be left of a parks department that was once the toast of the south west and won a Chelsea medal?



Offline Jean

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Re: Just who will be left to look after our open spaces
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2011, 07:32:17 AM »
It bothers me too. With every small green space or bit of countryside used or targetted for development (along with tiny gardens provided in modern housing estates), never have the parks and open spaces been more important for nurturing public mental good health.

The Parks department has been mercilessly hammered and Swindon cannot afford to lose more staff.

20 years ago I was extolling the virtues of Swindon's parks to Oxfordshire Friends of the Earth. As a result, Bicester Friends of the Earth spent a day looking around the parks with officers and members of Cherwell District Council who were then inspired to improve facilities in Bicester.

Swindon has proved itself a good leader in many things. Now the list is dwindling in ever-decreasing circles. 

 
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Offline Steve Wakefield

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Re: Just who will be left to look after our open spaces
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2011, 12:02:58 PM »
Oxford city Council, used to boast that it had about 900acres of open space and about 90,000 trees from recollection, but that was several years back.
All posts on this forum are my own opinion and do not represent the views of any council or any political party.  :banana:

Offline Muggins

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Re: Just who will be left to look after our open spaces
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2011, 12:29:04 PM »
Worth reminding people again, that Swindon came 2nd twice as Environment City - First time to Leicester, whose suggestion it was to have the competition and then to Middlesbrough, who had 9 miles of derelict coatline and big plans - love to know how that worked out.

10 large boxes of 'evidence' went from Swindon to prove our credentials too
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

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Re: Just who will be left to look after our open spaces
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2011, 01:00:34 PM »
Worth reminding people again, that Swindon came 2nd twice as Environment City - First time to Leicester, whose suggestion it was to have the competition and then to Middlesbrough, who had 9 miles of derelict coatline and big plans - love to know how that worked out.

10 large boxes of 'evidence' went from Swindon to prove our credentials too

Is that almost as many as wifi?  :2funny:

Swindon does have some nice open space Old Town Gardens and the Bowl, with its bandstand and the little kiosk is a credential that has survived in spite of recent Tory interference with our parks, but for how much longer?  :surrender:

Offline Alex

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Re: Just who will be left to look after our open spaces
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2011, 03:46:28 PM »
It is as though they are trying to create a ghetto. Swindon will look and feel like the Bronx- although even that has some redeeming features now.

Good mental health is a real issue for people who are forced into small narrow spaces with no green fields, commons or sky.

The trees and shrubs  are only just under control around the Lawns  but it is apparent that much isn't being done any more and some of the trees are in dire need of maintenance in Town Gardens but I'm told it would cost too much. Very sad.




Offline Muggins

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Re: Just who will be left to look after our open spaces
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2011, 05:33:11 PM »
I'm a person that doesn't like over-tidied public spaces, i.e. green deserts, those areas that are cut within a inch of it's life, but not a place anyone would walk, play etc.

If we moan too much about cutting backs etc. then they will just take those areas out and it was a long time ago, but this happened with our street shrubbery.

Someone has actually paid to have pretty harmless stuff taken out along the Cricklade Way, absolutely no point to it at all.

Thank goodenss for those Community Forest years, and the planting that's been done alogn our roads and in the new developments are doing very well and looking good.

It's keeping them that counts.
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Just who will be left to look after our open spaces
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2011, 10:15:01 PM »

I regard parks and open spaces, and the workers who maintain and care for them as a basic 'must have'.

That we have a council administration that neglects the basic 'must haves' of the borough but pursues multi-million pound visions of vibrancy and derogates anyone who questions their judgement is...unsustainable.

Things will probably get much worse before they get better but they won't get any better until we take their hammers from them and shove Rodericks Nu-Luddites out of the doors of the civic..

Offline Richard Beale

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Re: Just who will be left to look after our open spaces
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2011, 11:19:58 PM »
Adver has caught up....

http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/9330285.Council_to_cut_140_posts/

Offline Tobes

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Re: Just who will be left to look after our open spaces
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2011, 11:32:14 PM »
Ridiculous. Our fine open spaces are one of the few things we've got to boast about in this town. My thoughts and condolences to those who will lose their jobs  :(
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Just who will be left to look after our open spaces
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2011, 11:44:07 PM »
I see Rod's Writers are busy pouring bile on SBC staff and demonising public sector workers.

Not really a surprise to see them swarming onto the adver site just a few days before public service unions take some action though.

I really dislike the tactic of deliberately orchestrating the derogation of workers who are the targets of cuts. To me it feels like politicians are whipping up a lynch mob and this week they're 'gonna hang 'emselves a few dozen gardeners'.

Whose turn will it be next week?

The Nasty Party? - the party is bleeding pantomine tears while its henchman are knifing people and stringing 'em up - so yes. The title is well deserved.

Offline Tea Boy

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Re: Just who will be left to look after our open spaces
« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2011, 01:03:53 AM »
Haven't heard of any gardeners getting the push. However there is always some cut back each year, the gradual decline set in ages ago.

It seems s if there is another restructuring of the parks office in offing. Which in Gain Jones and Rod Bluh's book means redundancies.

Rumour is lydiard park is going to be put back into grounds maintenance and so rangers will going.

With the current state of unemployment, a PM who doesn't care either and a chancellor with no alternate plan B. Those bring made redundant have an extended periiod out of work to look forward to


Would the last person to leave the parks department please turn off the lights
Gardening tips: Always remember its brown side down, green side up.  If its knocking now it'll only go bang later

Offline Bassettina

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Re: Just who will be left to look after our open spaces
« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2011, 07:54:49 AM »
Are the 140 posts going on top of these that will be lost in the council's longer-term restructuring plans? And have staff been told or did they get to read about it in the local paper first? It's a very sad time for people in Swindon, particularly on top of the other job cuts announced this week.

One does ask when the regeneration will start for Swindon. Despite the small park by the bus station, the road chaos and the 'Forward Swindon' company people (all expected to make Swindon more vibrant), the town seems to be sliding further into economic recession.

Forget the Chancellor - I don't think Swindon's Plan A is working at all. What's Swindon's Plan B? How do we get Wiltshire's largest town back on its feet?

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Re: Just who will be left to look after our open spaces
« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2011, 07:57:25 AM »
Is this another sycophantic article from a free press that has a constitutional duty to hold them accountable to the people for their decisions? How many women are in Rod's cabinet?  How many of the workers made redundant so far and how many of those under " threat " of redundancy  are women? I ask this as it is the impact of Tory polices on women that is the Nasty bit of this we're all in it together nonsense read  Sally Bercow.

http://labour-uncut.co.uk/2010/12/09/this-tory-lib-dem-government-is-particularly-clobbering-women/

Another point to consider are staff  being cowed by the " threat" to them of the cabinet's decision?

Offline Richard Beale

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Re: Just who will be left to look after our open spaces
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2011, 11:29:57 PM »
I have been speaking to quite a few ex-colleagues and it has become clear that the next stage in neglecting the town's infrastructure is upon us.....

My sources have told me that all 70 (ish) streetsmart workers have been made redundant and 30 post's have been moved to SCS. These posts will form community liason officers working for SCS. The rest will be collecting their P45's in the new year.

To my mind this will have a few effects:

Reduced footfall and man hours available to sort out issues. It also removes any benefit derived from specialism and specific skills those remaining officers may have. But then that doesn't matter i suppose, after all this is only about MONEY not services. Borough wide, the people of Swindon will lose the benefit of the individual skill sets, for instance IF the only arboricultural officer is located to say West Swindon, then that becomes his 'locality', his skills mean nothing in the new set up, he will be too busy to take the strategic role and the towns trees will suffer. Perhaps its a case that the Cabinet feel they are now the 'experts ' in these strategic areas and no longer need officers to take the those sort of responsibilities.

It will also Place the direct services such as waste, parks, street cleaning solely with the contractor (after all that's what SCS are supposed to be). So council services will start to depend on MARGIN not quality of services supplied.
Any team members currently looking after places such as coate water etc are also being restructured in the same manner, so council presence at sites such as Coate is now also being closed down, which is rather ominous.

I know that for many these changes will destroy any pride left in the job. To be fair its a new way of working, so brand new that I think SBC are the first to do it on this scale. It will be a formidable challange for those left employed, but I really don't see how this is going to make services better.

The money isn't there to improve anything and the 'community liason officers' are going to be nothing more than ineffective window dressing on the council's inability to fund basic services. It's going to take some getting used to for rangers / parks officer a to be dealing with highways and Waste, for highways inspectors to be dealing with parks issues and Bins etc.... Who will be looking at the issues Borough wide, as I understand there won't be anyone left. If staff can't cope NOW with the number of complaints, having the resource and removing the specialist backup is I believe a receipe for disaster.

The saddest thing is that it will be a few years until the estates are overgrown by shrubberries, untended trees affect nearby buildings, playgrounds fall into disrepair, litter collects where its too costly to remove it, our roads are pot holed too much, etc etc etc. By then the damage will have been done.

It is just possible as well that ALL of the former parks team could fail to get one of the new roles.... Leaving NO parks expertise at all.

I hope the Tory group and Gavin Jones know what they are doing. If this experiment with the towns services it doesn't work then Swindon's infrastructure,open spaces and environment will suffer.

I'm waiting to be proved wrong......... Meanwhile I can hear David Murray John spinning in his grave.


Offline Bassettina

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Re: Just who will be left to look after our open spaces
« Reply #15 on: November 17, 2011, 06:17:18 AM »
Swindon has some wonderful parks - even those outside the town grew up visiting the little train at Coate, the zip line at Lydiard, the avieries at Town Gardens, the metal gorilla at Queens. I never remember the parks looking tired or neglected. In fact, looking back, I remember lots of hard working professional staff (manning help points, even) giving bat walks, talks or working in the park.

Over the last few years it's clear that the staff have been cut and that parks have suffered. Any further cuts could see the long-term decline of some of the most beautiful and peaceful green spaces in the area. Will the volunteers stay on to support a commercial company's profit making? Will they still keep the Green Flag at Coate Water?

I know parks don't make huge sums of money - they aren't there to do that. But how many people benefit? How important is it to have local free spaces for exercise? How important is it to have calm and peaceful places to get away from stress? How important is it for families to have places to get together and play? How important is it for an urbanised area to have areas that care and encourage wildlife?

Lots. Very. Very. Very. Very.

Offline Greengirl

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Re: Just who will be left to look after our open spaces
« Reply #16 on: November 17, 2011, 07:56:50 AM »
 :agreed: :agreed: :agreed: :agreed: :agreed: :agreed: :agreed: :agreed: :agreed: :agreed: :agreed: :agreed: :agreed: :agreed: :agreed: :agreed: :agreed: :agreed:


And who will have to foot the bill when people sue as trees destroy houses' foundations, fall on cars and people? 

Short termism again. They will never learn.

Offline Muggins

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Re: Just who will be left to look after our open spaces
« Reply #17 on: November 17, 2011, 08:17:12 AM »
No fear of that - ask a Neighbourhood Warden and he will whip that tree out in no time at all -but who is to tell him not to do it, and who will there be with the expertise to ensure that our trees are properly maintained - seems to me that investment in the *Community Forest has been short term and no account taken of it's sustainability. 

It's frightening me to death. Having done everything they can to crush community and voluntary spirit, then comes the big bang.

*Community Forest is not just about trees and out in the country.


Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Bassettina

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Re: Just who will be left to look after our open spaces
« Reply #18 on: November 17, 2011, 02:54:43 PM »
And the parks seem to have a really good, active volunteer programme. Would those people really want to volunteer for Swindon's Commercial Services?

Offline itspavagain

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Re: Just who will be left to look after our open spaces
« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2011, 03:09:00 PM »
We keep hearing about 1 million unemployed yoofs. Get them out there earning their JSA.