I am still reeling after what I witnessed and was a part of the council meeting last night was supposedly democracy in action, yet so many people spoke out about alternatives to wasting £60,000 of taxpayers money, the fact that moving the play equipment from the one accessible play park to yet another inaccessible play park breached their duties under the Equality Act seemed to fall ironically on deaf ears. Despite the fact that I shared images of Ketts Park taken on Saturday that show it is a health and safety hazard, it had so much standing water in places that a child could drown in it. I have now been fighting since last April to get disabled access on (before the play park was even installed) and the council have done nothing stone walling me and Equal Lives a disability rights group.
The Chair (I cannot bring myself to say person) of the Councils Leisure and Environment Committee who has supposedly been taking my issue up regarding their being no disabled access at the group, and understanding my plight and so on and so forth was the person who on the one hand had the Town Clerk point me to the Kings Head Meadow accessible play area and on the other hand proposed moving most of the equipment away from this park to another inaccessible park despite many protestations from residents of the Wymondham Town and concerns from other Councillors that cheaper alternatives should be looked at.
I also witnessed a Councillor shouting at the electorate like a spoilt child, and when a comfort break was called stormed over to square up against a member of the public before leaving the meeting in tears and not returning – well done to the residents of the Ward that elected this type of juvenile delinquent to represent you!
I would like to thank Councillors Underwood and Halls who were at least undecided prior to the meeting raised some very valid points about investigating cheaper alternatives before committing such a large portion of funds from the council reserve (funds that I was led to believe were not available to put in a pathway for disabled access at the new park built in the summer of 2015 and is totally unusable in Jan 2016), and the lack of context and direction in the wishy washy letter sent from South Norfolk District Council about the potential of litigation.
I was left with no alternative at the point Councillors who were there supposedly to represent their electorate voted in favour of 8 votes to 3 with 2 abstaining (how you can abstain on such as important issue is beyond me but hey couldn’t vote against their party) to issue the council with a formal letter of complaint informing them that I was suing them under the Equality Act 2010.
Councillor Halls tried to get the issue of Disabled Access to all council owned buildings, areas and services on to the agenda for the next Council meeting, however the Councillors decided that it would be best discussed in the Leisure and Environments Sub Committee forum, the same forum who’s Chair, that with total disregard to disabled access and the Equality act has been stonewalling me for months and who’s chair proposed moving the play equipment from the disabled accessible play area to a third inaccessible play area. Hardly seems likely that they will act impartially!
So there’s the crux of my anger of my first experience of “democracy” in action, I must sign off to write an email to the Councillors.
I must say the local residents described the intolerable sound of children playing and having fun, almost forgetting that some of them, their selves played on the play area made it sound that everyday was rammed full – well maybe the first few weeks it was new and the only really decent park in the town. It soon quietened down as many times me and my LG have been the only people there. I have sympathy for those who have said children can see in their garden so rightly the high play equipment designed for much older children should be moved and something much lower installed for them. After all many parents have over and under 8’s in their families neither of which you would responsibly allow out to play unsupervised. Anti social behaviour, late night drinking and drug taking was described – well this is not the children on the play area and is another issue (however a Freedom of Information Act has been discovered to see how many incidents of ASB have been logged as crime statistics show it as 2 so this is hardly constant).
I will share this in due course!