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Who we are
We are a group of residents, small and large businesses, religious groups, community groups and other interested parties, we represent the areas of Tokyngton, St Raphael's, Stonebridge and the Wembley Stadium and Brent Park commercial estates - WE ARE THE COMMUNITY THAT LIVES, WORKS, STUDIES, PRAYS AND PLAYS WITHIN THE AREA OF BRENT RIVER PARK.
'BRENT RIVER PARK' may not sound familiar to some of you, but it is Brent Council's collective name for Tokyngton Recreation Ground (also known as 'Monks Park'), St Raphael Open Space and the wilderness area near the Stadium trading estate known by the rather utilitarian name of 'Area 5'. These open spaces are situated along a 1.25 mile stretch of the river Brent's banks, from near the junction of the Harrow Rd. (A404) and North Circular Rd. (A406) through to Atlas Rd. on the Stadium trading estate.
Why have we formed?
Brent Council have been making decisions driven by their need to cut operating costs, due to large disparities between their income and expenditure, but have been doing so as a bureaucratic exercise, 'budget cutting', rather than a considered approach of true cost cutting and efficiency.
Anyone who has ever been involved in business or financial management will know that 'budget cuts' do not automatically result in real cost savings, in most cases it's a case of merely shifting the financial burden from one 'budget' to another 'budget', but quite often budget cuts have dramatic effects on the way an organisation is structured, with staff often being a casualty. That is the situation that we find ourselves in, Brent Council have made staff cuts that dramatically affect us all as a community, but without the benefit of REAL cost savings, in fact, the COMMUNITY will pay a very high price indeed for the Councils misguided decision. From the figures that we have obtained from Brent Council, their costs are forecast to actually rise, whilst services are being axed!
'The Centre for Social Justice', an independent organisation that passes comment and makes recommendations on political decisions has recently released a document and had articles in the press that highlight this very problem, they recognise that the end result has to be the criteria that drives the decisions, not simply undertaking budgeting exercises and ignoring the effectiveness of the consequences, it is a shame that our local politicians cannot grasp this notion.
You may have already heard about some of the more high profile cuts such as closing Libraries, our Tokyngton Library is one of the casualties, but you will almost certainly not have heard about the loss of our full time Park Warden from Brent River Park, this is being carried out very quietly 'under the radar' so to speak!
Residents have discovered the Council's plan at it's very earliest stage, and are quite horrified at the prospect of losing 'our' Warden. Many of us have been around the area long enough to know what it was like without a Warden, it was horrendous, with violent gangs, muggers and sexual assaults along with a host of other crimes a constant threat to the community.
WE ARE DETERMINED THAT A RECKLESS DECISION BY THE COUNCIL WILL NOT FORCE US TO RETURN TO THAT THOUROUGHLY UNACEPTABLE WAY OF LIFE - WE WILL FIGHT UNTIL THE COUNCIL SEES SENSE!
What we are doing
You may have seen articles in the local press of a protest group posing for photos in King Edward's park, well that was just a group of political activists, there is no sign of them actually supporting the community as a whole and fighting to keep the Wardens with any kind of campaign, merely a single statement of objection! - WE ARE DIFFERENT!
We have no political axe to grind, we have no individuals seeking to get their photos in the paper, we are a UNITED COMMUNITY of residents, businesses and local groups who all have a vested interest, and who are taking real action to deal with this problem.
|A small group of our supporters braving the foul weather on Sat 19th
Feb., whilst we waited for the photographer from the local paper to
The local press are covering our campaign, keep an eye open for articles about us in the local papers.
Discussions with the Council
We have had a meeting with Councilor Ann John OBE (leader of Brent Council) on 19th Feb. to discuss the disastrous effects of losing our Warden. Our concerns were put to her, and ways of keeping a full time Warden, such as sponsorship deals were put forward. Cllr. John has promised to take our concerns and proposals to the council for further discussion.
Cllr. John admitted that the Council were fully aware that by removing the full time Warden they would allow the park to degenerate. The not obviously related question was asked by Cllr. John of whether we felt the Council should provide funds for 'cultural' activities such as parades, and we quickly pointed out that these are both non-essential and have the options of both finding funding through other means, and scaling their operations to suit their available funds, but that Park Wardens were essential services and residents didn't have options for either alternative funding, or providing a 'private' Warden service, this was the Council's role to fund and provide these services in preference to subsidising 'cultural' parades.
We tried hard to get the message across to her that we are not simply 'NIMBYS' ('Not in my back yard') wishing to force cost cutting to go elsewhere and bypass us, that we were not political activists taking a opportunistic 'swipe' at the Council, but that we had a full grasp of the issues, and that the Council needed to review their policy to obtain REAL cost savings.
We have asked the Council to delay the removal of the full time Warden, whilst WE try to secure sponsorship, because the 31st March deadline for axing the Warden is insufficient time to negotiate with potential sponsors.
Why WE, as resident should be trying to secure financing of a Council service remains unanswered, surely the Council should have explored ALL OPTIONS, BEFORE axing services, but if it is a means of retaining 'our' Warden, we will do it for the good of the community.
Join us, use your voice and opinion, put a comment on our comments page, support us with your signature on our petitions, tell your friends and neighbours about us, gather their support, make your voice heard loud and clear - we can be the strong voice of the entire neighbourhood with your help - WE CAN ACHEIVE CHANGE - WE CAN KEEP THIS A DECENT AREA TO LIVE - WE CAN KEEP OUR WARDEN!