"WE SHOULD have approved Go Ape in Thorndon Park", stated Conservative councillor Phil Baker at the policy board on September 24.
This shocking statement demonstrates exactly why I am right to be concerned about the joint committee being formed between Essex County and Brentwood Borough councils to run Brentwood's county parks and the cabinet system proposal which could lead to someone such as Cllr Baker being able to make such a decision alone.
Fortunately, Go Ape was turned down for a myriad of reasons, including the presence of Great Crested Newts who were breeding in the picnic pond, the dangers of setting a legal precedent if the change of use was approved and, undeniably, the weight of public opinion. To Cllr Baker, hundreds of residents fighting against this application seemed unimportant, as he dismissed them and then ridiculed my role in the campaign. But, the refusal reasons still exist.
However, my real issue of concern is how my idea of having a Friends of Brentwood Country Parks has been the victim of yet another Conservative hijack. Suggested by me as an organisation that would see real park users involved, Cllr Brandon Lewis has filled one third of this committee with councillors: three Tories and two opposition councillors. Residents will be so disappointed, given that most wanted a non-political group.
Cllr Karen Chilvers
Former Lead Campaigner
Save Thorndon Park Campaign