Aug 15 2013

Harrow UNISON Press Release Re: Parks Remaining Unlocked

unison_logoHarrow UNISON Local Government Branch has reviewed the data supplied by Harrow Council regarding its controversial and high profile plans to cease locking the borough’s parks.

UNISON have also monitored the information supplied to residents through the press and have discovered that the Council has provided misleading data which we believe has been designed to downplay the impact of what the plans may mean in reality to local residents.

For instance, an officer in the Environment Directorate was quoted in last week’s Harrow Observer (8th August 2013, page 7) implying that as ‘two thirds of parks are currently unlocked’ the impact will be minimal. However, of the 92 ‘Parks’ compiled from the Council’s Parks profile list, 50% are open spaces that cannot and have never been locked. Clearly, this is due to these spaces being designated as open spaces and greenbelt land to which this borough is renowned for.

What this means in practice is that Harrow Council’s actual plans will mean the cessation of the locking of 42 of the borough’s parks, cemeteries, playgrounds, toilets and car parks. We also remind residents that the Council’s insensitive plans include the non-locking of all cemeteries in Harrow including Carpenters Park Cemetery thereby increasing the risk of desecration of graves and damage to headstones as witnessed in some other local authorities.

We are disappointed that Harrow Council has not conducted a robust and comprehensive consultation exercise on this proposal prior to implementing this budget cut earlier this year. The Council would have been wise to learn from lessons in the past when in 2006 the exact same plan was put forward to cease locking parks and cemeteries and overturned through the Call-In procedure due to public outcry and common sense prevailing.

We call on the relevant Portfolio Holder Cllr Asad Omar to heed the ever gathering concerns of his residents and adopt a listening approach learning from past and failed experiences.

(Visited 8 times, 1 visits today)