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Author Topic: Council plans to demise Mill Brow playground  (Read 5789 times)

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GeoffAbell

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Re: Council plans to demise Mill Brow playground
« Reply #20 on: December 19, 2015, 10:11:38 PM »
People's views are important.  And listened to.  Not just the loudest.

Mark and the helpers at Marple Memorial Park do a fantastic job.  It's now a well-used park, with less ASB and the Friends are still pushing for a skateboard park.  It has bowls, boules, local artefacts, excellent artwork remembering 1914, a veg patch, the last public loos in Marple, various bits of art, a restored playground for toddlers (and one for older children), well maintained gardens.  So much from a dedicated Friends group that made the best use of dwindling resources.  They responded en masse to consultation and were heard. 

And now I am trying to help Mill Brow to get things too.  Mill Brow is so much smaller, and the park is tucked out of sight, but the Friends make up for it with really enthusiastic volunteers. We must be able to get something.

As people have pointed out it is a massive problem when money is squeezed out of the system (another £21m next year) and the suing culture with associated public liability insurance.  Although this year the council were better at stopping false claims.

So our budget plans for next year are on my website.  I know money doesn't interest everyone but it is public money and if you have any comments, let me know.  How would you do it differently?
http://marple.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/10/19/proposed-2016-2017-smbc-budget/#page-content

Franz

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Re: Council plans to demise Mill Brow playground
« Reply #19 on: November 24, 2015, 06:29:15 PM »
This 'lets all blame Labour' is getting a little out of hand.

The quote in Andy's post is not as it was stated in my original post. However, perhaps I should have said "It all dates back to the decision of Geoff Hoon in 1995, at which time he was Minister of State to the Lord Chancellor's department, to authorise CFAs. This meant that potential plaintiffs no longer had to satisfy the LAA that there was a realistic chance of success in the proceedings but, instead, had to satisfy a solicitor that there was a good chance of getting some cash from insurers which was a very different matter. There can be no doubt that the "claims culture" stems from that decision."

Andy

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Re: Council plans to demise Mill Brow playground
« Reply #18 on: November 24, 2015, 08:45:57 AM »

It all goes back to the decision of the Labour government in 1995 to authorise CFAs, Conditional (No Fee, No Win) agreements

This 'lets all blame Labour' is getting a little out of hand.

Phil

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Re: Council plans to demise Mill Brow playground
« Reply #17 on: November 23, 2015, 10:56:04 PM »
Wheels.... Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Don't speak.

RH.

wheels

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Re: Council plans to demise Mill Brow playground
« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2015, 04:55:46 PM »
What a revealing post! There I was thinking the Council, which is constantly issuing consultation exercises, wanted to hear the views of council taxpayers. Obviously I was mistaken....

What mischief Dave. You know perfectly well I don't speak for the Council or anyone associated with it. Cheap from you Dave you know better.

Dave

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Re: Council plans to demise Mill Brow playground
« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2015, 11:35:03 AM »
So are you saying they who shout loudest should get what they want irrespective of established needs elsewhere.  This is what's so worrying the bully boy tactics of the voluntary  group who just shout I  want I want I want and never mind everyone else.

What a revealing post! There I was thinking the Council, which is constantly issuing consultation exercises, wanted to hear the views of council taxpayers. Obviously I was mistaken....

Interesting post by Franz, about the effect of conditional fee arrangements. But surely the ultimate responsibility must rest with the courts.  If court judgements were based on the principle that parents, not local authorities, are responsible for the safety of their children, then maybe our parks and playgrounds wouldn't be closing.

admin

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Re: Council plans to demise Mill Brow playground
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2015, 11:18:16 AM »
So are you saying they who shout loudest should get what they want irrespective of established needs elsewhere.  This is what's so worrying the bully boy tactics of the voluntary  group who just shout I  want I want I want and never mind everyone else.

No, I'm not saying that is what SHOULD happen. I'm saying that is what DOES happen, as the examples I quoted clearly show. I think it's wrong, I believe that the recreation ground equipment should have also been replaced but it's a sad fact that unless the community speaks up for what it wants in these circumstances then they won't get it. I suspect it's actually a council strategy. Close down 10 play areas, one group makes a big enough fuss then they'll do something about it but they've still saved replacing 9 other play areas. They can actually justify it by saying "nobody made a fuss, nobody wanted it".

wheels

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Re: Council plans to demise Mill Brow playground
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2015, 10:49:22 AM »
It's not long since equipment was removed from several Stockport parks for similar reasons. Two examples locally in Marple are the Recreation Ground and Windlehurst Park. These two parks demonstrate the difference that the community can make. For the Rec, no Friends group, nobody made a concerted effort to fight the removals and the play area has gone, probably forever. However, Windlehurst residents got together and formed a group, campaigned aggressively, caused a huge fuss and were successful in getting brand new equipment. By starting the petition Mill Brow are on the right track but need to look at how Windlehurst Park were so successful and do all the same things.

So are you saying they who shout loudest should get what they want irrespective of established needs elsewhere.  This is what's so worrying the bully boy tactics of the voluntary  group who just shout I  want I want I want and never mind everyone else.

Melancholyflower

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Re: Council plans to demise Mill Brow playground
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2015, 10:17:02 AM »
Franz is right. Fear of litigation is the only reason equipment is being removed.




admin

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Re: Council plans to demise Mill Brow playground
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2015, 07:18:38 AM »
It's not long since equipment was removed from several Stockport parks for similar reasons. Two examples locally in Marple are the Recreation Ground and Windlehurst Park. These two parks demonstrate the difference that the community can make. For the Rec, no Friends group, nobody made a concerted effort to fight the removals and the play area has gone, probably forever. However, Windlehurst residents got together and formed a group, campaigned aggressively, caused a huge fuss and were successful in getting brand new equipment. By starting the petition Mill Brow are on the right track but need to look at how Windlehurst Park were so successful and do all the same things.   

Franz

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Re: Council plans to demise Mill Brow playground
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2015, 06:42:23 AM »
Probably the most significant change since our childhood is the introduction of no win no fee litigation in 1995 coupled with the introduction of the internet. Just search "I want to make a claim" in Google.

 This has resulted in claim farmers whose job it is to get tip offs from police, journalists, council staff, ambulance staff, etc. It has also led to an inclination on the part of insurers to send off a cheque for a few thousand pounds rather than go to the trouble of establishing the facts of a claim as they know that litigation, with its associated costs for the defendant, is far more likely. It is also the case that changes blamed on HSE are more often than not the result of insurers requirements so, in many cases, it is they who determine the "safety standards of the day". If local authorities were required to erect railings alongside pavements it would almost certainly be because insurers were paying to many too many claims which might have been prevented by such railings

Another effect of no win no fee has been an increase in solicitor's fees to compensate for the risk of receiving no fee at all should the claim fail. The NHS paid out £1.1 billion in compensation last year and a third of that, almost £400,000,000, related to lawyers fees. They quote one claim where a payment of £5000 in compensation was followed by a bill from the plaintiff's lawyer for £121,700. In addition the value of claims against the NHS which were successfully defended, and no payment made, amounted to £1.2 billion

It all goes back to the decision of the Labour government in 1995 to authorise CFAs, Conditional (No Fee, No Win) agreements

simonesaffron

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Re: Council plans to demise Mill Brow playground
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2015, 11:43:12 AM »
Dave,

We have to work with the rules and regulations the way they actually are, not the way they were or the way we feel they should be. Somebody decides and thereafter that's it.

That fact though isn't really my point, which is that public realm is important.  It is important for the well being of our citizens and the 
council should be spending some money on it and they are not - not in Marple anyway.

Dave

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Re: Council plans to demise Mill Brow playground
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2015, 10:33:05 AM »
However,  that was then, times have changed and if play equipment is to be provided then it should conform to the safety standards of the day.

But who determines the 'safety standards of the day'?  Why is something that was deemed safe for our children deemed unsafe for our grandchildren?  What has changed?  Are the kids more stupid?  Or their parents more irresponsible? 

Just because the Health and Safety Executive says some safety precautions need to be strengthened, it doesn't mean they are right.

What happens if a child runs into the road and is knocked down by a car?  Does that mean local authorities will be required to erect railings alongside all pavements, to ensure that inadequately supervised children can't run into the road?

Young children are innately vulnerable and have to be supervised.  Parents need to understand that this is their responsibility.  The more we allow parents to think they can be negligent and then blame local authorities for the consequences of their negligence, the more we will see the continuing erosion of the public realm, as risk-averse local authority lawyers tell their bosses to close parks and remove play equipment. 


simonesaffron

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Re: Council plans to demise Mill Brow playground
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2015, 10:08:22 AM »
There is a responsibility here.

I recall as a twelve year old taking my 9 year old brother in the park, he fell off the rocking horse and sustained some relatively minor injuries. My mother admonished us both and said that we should play more "responsibly." She wouldn't have even considered suing the council.

However,  that was then, times have changed and if play equipment is to be provided then it should conform to the safety standards of the day.

Tory bashing, Dave is not the answer to all ills. In my view The problems that exist in Marple today (and Marple has deteriorated of late in many ways) but the most apparent is in the public realm. These though are local issues and all the council comes out with is the same old mantra ..."we've got no money,' and I admit that they have less than they used to have." But they have got money, they've got around £500million a year. You get the distinct impression that none of it is being spent in Marple.

The Memorial Park is topical. It is a magnificent example of public space yet the council all but ignore it, gradually withdrawing all support. How long before they stop cutting the grass, maintaining the trees, dismantling the swings?

So what's the answer?

Dave

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Re: Council plans to demise Mill Brow playground
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2015, 07:56:34 AM »
Interesting link, Cyberman.  The injured child's mother is quoted there as saying, rather defensively,  'It’s not my fault the parks have gone', but it is - along with George Osborne and her ambulance-chasing solicitors.  A responsible parent supervises their child and makes sure it is safe.  She failed to do so, and now other parents and children are paying the price.