Friday 13 January 2012

Chalkhill kids let down yet again by park delay

The park site - no 'New Dawn' here
Cllr Powney has accused me recently of being 'grumpy' but the latest news from Brent Council has transformed me into the full Victor Meldrew: 'I CAN'T BELIEVE IT! THE NEW CHALKHILL PARK HAS BEEN DELAYED YET AGAIN.'

In October 2011 I blogged LINKthat after a meeting with Cllr Powney (lead member for the environment)and Gerry Kiefer, head of Sports and Parks, we were assured that the delayed Chalkhill Park would be ready by May 2012.  Earlier in the year children from Chalkhill School Council had lobbied ward councillors after repeated delays and this was taken up by the wider community of children and youth on the estate during the summer holiday. They were all angry that once again Chalkhill young people had been deprived of a park during the long summer holiday. They were determined that they would have a park by Summer 2012.

When I saw that no work had started after the forecast delay of 4-6 weeks I started nagging the ward councillor in my role as Chair of Governors of Chalkhill Primary School. 

Chris Walker, head of planning wrote to all the interested parties yesterday to say that it had been anticipated that work would start in December 2011/January 2012 (more than 4-6 weeks behind) but that now the contract will be not be awarded until March 2012 with a six month contract to completion. On my reading this means that the park will not be completed until at least September 2012 leaving the local kids with no park for yet another summer.

Mr Walker explains that this is because all the tenders submitted in the autumn were unaffordable without reducing the park specification and that it became apparent that they did not fully comply with the Council's internal standing orders - so they are going out to tender again 'and hope that this time we will receive affordable and suitable tender submissions'. Even that sounds pretty uncertain...

Chris Walker  says he realises the situation will be a big disappointment but says that the Council is doing all it can to minimise delays.

All sorts of questions are raised by this debacle, not least over whether the Parks Service itself, if it hadn't been drastically cut, could have got a park up and running but also what this means for the Council's current Parks Review which, amongst other options, is looking at the possibility of privatisation of the Service.

After last summer's events across the nation Brent Council had better takes positive steps to ensure it is not a long hot summer on Chalkhill. They could at least get the BMX track cleared at St. David's Close and fast-track plans for a possible skateboarding installation.

The councillors who represent Chalkhill (which is part of  Barnhill Ward) can be contacted via their website BARNHILL-NEW DAWN (sic). No mention of this news there.

You can write direct to the councillors at their e-mails below:;;;

No comments: