Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Great news for Thringstone

Since being elected in May the thing I have been asked for more than anything else by local people is to try and improve local play facilities for children.

The new Miners Welfare coincided with the removal of the pocket park off clover place which was recognised as being a regular site for anti-social behaviour.

In particular comments have been made that there are no play facilities for children on the cusp of leaving primary school and starting high school.

As a result Dave Everitt and I have been working closely with council officers to seek to improve the Melrose Road play area and develop it into a designated playhub, a larger play area with a wide range of facilities.

I am absolutely delighted to report that at the Coalville Special Expenses meeting last night the working group approved a significant grant for the development of the play area.

Exact specification has to be worked out but depending upon Cabinet approval (part of the formal budgeting process) and neighbour consultation we should see a range of skating, scootering and sports facilities being installed in 2012.

Great news!


  1. Dear Mr Spence.
    EXACTLY WHY are you going to be turning the ONLY young child friendly area in Thringstone into a teenage paradise? I have been witness to so many personal attacks on a house on Melrose Road that is opposite the area (Dog mess, Apples, Ice balls, threats to life AND swearing) That I do beleive you are trying to oust people from their homes in a decision to almost encourage the intimidation of the disabled and elderly residents who live in that particular area of Thringstone.
    I am hoping greatly that you would consider making use of the derelict play area behind the football club and Hensons lane? The one the council paid a high price to have artistically graffiti'd only last year which remains unused but would be ideal.
    I am shocked, after the meeting conducted just last week with respect to anti social behaviour in this area that you believe this would be "an improvement". This area backs onto the woodlands which have been subjected to numerous fires and dumping of stolen items AND this would be ridiculous in the event of trouble as any illegal activity could easily be conducted out of sight and easily escaped from the police.
    The area behind Hensons lane has only two entrances and would be easily lit with little consequence to the surrounding areas.
    There are not only young teenage and pre-teen children in this area but MANY young children who appreciate the safety of the small playground, what will be the consequences to them when older children are encouraged to use this area in more adventourous play?
    This has not been well thought out and has not been given to Thringstone for consultation.
    YES we need investment in the young people and the opportunities they have in our area, but to turn an area which is already frequented by many younger families into something which alienates them seems counter-intuitive when looking at the long term community health of our area.

  2. As a resident of Melrose Road I don't find this such great news Leon. Do you not realise just how close the exisiting play area is to peoples homes? Some of whom are elderly and disabled, some of whom have very young children. The current 'use' of the playground by youths and older children is bad enough.With regular drinking, fighting and anti social behaviour toward neighbours, including threats and damage to cars and property. This will only encourage further anti social behaviour not deal with it. I think it's position so near the road (and the corner) would also make it quite dangerous for the youngsters. I am not against a play area per se but this is in the wrong place entirely for the kind of large facility you are proposing. I would urge you in the strongest possible terms to rethink the positioning of this, there will be no peace what so ever for the folk in the nearby houses if this goes ahead.

  3. Many thanks for your comments.

    It is absolutely vital that before commencing any development that a thorough consultation is carried out with neighbours, wider village residents and children - particularly considering views about ASB.

    The council has a stated aim of developing playhubs as opposed to small pocket parks (very much like Melrose Road currently is). One of the reasons for this, I am advised by officers, is that such facilities usually lead to reduced ASB.

    Unfortunately, given the budgets, relocating the current pocket park is not likely to be a viable option. Similarly creating a separate skatepark would not be likely given the statement above about smaller facilities.

    Of course balancing different views regarding this issue is bound to be difficult but I would very much hope that during the consultation phase the views of all interested parties could be taken into account (and any additional facilities planned around this).

    I must say, however, that I am accutely conscious of the distinct lack of play facilities in Thringstone and as such would hope that amicable solutions can be arrived at which allow better facilities whilst taking into account the concerns of neighbours about ASB.

  4. I am astounded by the fact that the plans were made and the funding applied for BEFORE consulting with the neighbourhood.It smacks of the arrogant belief that other people know what is good for us. You already appear to be presenting obstructions to possible alternative solutions in your above reply. The two together suggest that the decision has already been made no matter what the opinions of the people in the locality. This 'consultation' is coming across as the usual lip service. I am becoming increasingly angry with the way things are done. What on earth possess anyone to develop plans and organise funding for something without a by your leave of the folk who live in the area. The time to include a community is at the BEGINNING of the process not the end. Who are these 'officers' who appear to be such experts that you talk about in your reply? When are we going to see the full report? Possibly some playhubs do reduce ASB BUT are they placed so close to vulnerable people as this one will be? Where is the evidence that this will make things any better? When is this consultation taking place and when and how will it be publicised?

  5. So it seems that in your opinion anti-social behaviour should be rewarded by creating havens for activity in the exact area of anti-social behaviour - that people have already been subjected to the very behaviour you are trying to change yet are not allowed any respite from the fears they hold of leaving their homes. In fact exascerbating anxiety issues which inevitably build due to repeated targeting and bullying.
    I have long followed Ed Milliband and taken part in many discussions regarding labour policy and the one thing I have had the impression of is that his leadership encourages participation BETWEEN those who are paid to SERVE the community (not tell it what to do) and those who seek to live peaceful constructive lives do you disagree with the leader of your party by telling us what is good for us?
    Excuse my skepticism with your seemingly classicly politic' kneejerk reply which in actual fact makes no sense nor does it show empathy for the people you are oathed to serve... i.e THE VOTER.
    I lived in an area which had a massive problem with anti-social behaviour where local youths were encouraged to build thier own resources, were given the means to create their own skate park and were also allowed to choose where this was to be. They chose wisely and treated their involvement with great integrity and honour.... so tell me... how much consultation is going to be done with the 10-15 year old population who need to be empowered to have pride in themselves?

  6. Once again many thanks for your comments.

    The budgetary process is such that project funding for proposed ideas needs to be earmarked before formal consultation can take place. This is what has happened in this case.

    I have had many discussions with local families who have made a point that the village needs improved play facilities. It is these discussions that have prompted conversations between myself and officers to look at possibilities for improving playgrounds in Thringstone.

    The officers in question are senior managers at the council and specialist young peoples officers who work with outside agencies and the police and seek to deliver best practice based upon their experience with other similar councils and locally.

    As a result officers have proposed and councillors recommended to Cabinet the concept of expanding play facilities at Melrose Road. It it this process that has effectively resulted in the earmarking of capital funding which will allow formal consultation to take place.

    As things stand, other than earmarking funds, no firm proposals have been decided upon and clearly this is the purpose of consultation.

    It is right to want improved facilities for our children but this shouldn't come at the expense of increases in ASB.

    I would sincerely hope that the whole consultation process, and any subsequent planning looks seriously at addressing any issues raised.

    I have personally spoken with young people who have confirmed to me that they think extra facilities are needed in the village. It is of course entirely right that young people actually drive the specification for any proposals.

    I firmly believe that it is the role of a councillor to listen to local people and represent the whole of the village. In setting the ball rolling, based upon constituent requests, for additional play facilities I believe that this is what I have done.

    Of course, that doesn't mean any firm decisions have been made as to specifications. I have no doubt that if opposition to any development is overwhelming then any proposals would not go ahead.

  7. I remain concerned. You have already apparently eliminated any other sites from the proposition and now you are saying
    "I have no doubt that if opposition to any development is overwhelming then any proposals would not go ahead."
    So basically it's take it or leave it, which in the end wil serve no one. It also smacks of manipulating local opinion if there is no alternative proposal.
    Can you also confirm reports that the hub wil in fact be at the end of Dalkeith Walk in addition to any expansion of the current play area? And if true can you explain why you can afford to work on two sites but not on on one in a different location?

  8. I'm extremely glad that young people are going to be consulted, I believe this is the only way they will learn accountability for the ownership of their communities.
    I am consistently involved in our locality in various voluntary capacities which includes sitting on the LPG as a parent volunteer for the provision of Surestart targets by funding organisations who seek to provide services for families across the nation. I am acutely aware of how complex the issues that you are facing and will face will affect the flow of the good you intend to supply to our village.

    I believe given the proper publicity and flexible availability of contact many people will come forward as our village has great pride. Don't do to, or do for, empower so people can do for themselves!

    Give people a chance to be in charge of thier own progress, it will lighten workload for you as you utilise the experience and enthusiasm of the people who are willing to assist.

  9. Domestic Bliss. I can't agree with you more.

    £30,000 is a massive opportunity for our village and my contribution effectively should only be sourcing the funding.

    The people who will best know how to spend this are neighbours, wider village residents and not least young people. I fully agree that one of the greatest opportunities of this project would be for those young people to take ownership.

    The last thing I, or any councillor, would want would be to exacerbate ASB. Hopefully a full consultation exercise will address this.

    The next step is for Cabinet to consider the recommendations of the special expenses group as part of the February budget setting process.

    With any luck a meaningful consultation process will start shortly after.

  10. Having ready your blog and your responses to comments made. I can only draw this conclusion

    1) The children of the 'school side' of Thringstone will get NOTHING.

    2) Residents of the Woodside Estate (both owned and rented) will get EVERYTHING

    3) The pocket -park at Clover Place was removed BECAUSE of Anti-social behaviour ..but YOU don't believe there is significant ASB at Melrose Rd, despite regular reported incidents to the Police.

    4) The welfare of the MOST vulnerable in KELSO COURT flats (designated 'elderly and infirm' complex)is of little significance.

    5) That the residents on Clyde Court, Kelso Court, and Melrose Road are to be emotionally and socially blackmailed into 'accepting' the facilities - or they will be withdrawn from the village altogether.

    hmmm. NOT such 'Good News' for our Village after all.

  11. The solution here is not to site a skate and scooter park near to peoples homes, what a ridiculous suggestion. We already have to put up with hooligans on scooters and illegal dirt bikes (no license plates or helmets to be seen!) ridding between Hensons Lane and the woods at the rear of the social club, and now people want to put them outside our houses, how stupid! I have seen the value of my home drop enough without putting up with more noise and ASB.

    I have a little girl of 2 and there is precious little for her to do, if we want to use a nice playground not spoilt by yobs then we drive over to Belton, which has a lovely childs play area. It is work noting they also have a skate park on the other side of the playing field, fenced off so scooters cannot get in!

    The first I knew about this was when an leaflet opposing the devleopment was put through my door today, typical.

    What point is there spening money on something a select few thugs will ruin unless you sort the thugs out first? Give them something to do I agree, but away from peoples houses, and not in the same place as where little children will play. It is unsafe and ill thought out.

  12. Many thanks for your varied comments.

    It is important to note that the earmarking of capital spending is only the first (but nevertheless important) step in the process for developing play facilities.

    Before any formal consultation can take place the earmarking must go through the formal budget process.

    All of the points made need to be fully considered if and when the budget is approved as part of the formal consultation.

    I welome everyone to continue to leave comments on this matter and I will ensure that at the appropriate time these are fed into the process, however, at the present time I do not intend to respond to further individual comments.

    Of course I will listen to majority opinion on this matter.

    Should anyone wish to speak with me directly please feel free to call me on 07828 194768.

  13. Excuse me... but you have put this news on a public blog.

    You are VOTED by this area.
    You are PAID at least expenses by this area.
    If we, your constituents wish to comment on your public blog - and get answers, YOU are honour bound' so to do!

    As we voted - we CAN change our vote.

  14. Whilst we recognise that you seem to have our village's interests at heart in securing the funding: and we THANK YOU for earmarking the money for facilities for the young people. Please remember that you're supposed to represent and speak on our behalf and with our voices, rather than dictate.

    We VERY much look forward to open and public and well advertised consultation where we very much hope the serious concerns of PARENTS and RESIDENTS in the village are heard. The Thringstone Community Action Association (TCAA) worked for 'the right (play) facilities in the right place' by moving the toddler park AWAY from the Youth's park as a result of inconsiderate behaviour and bullying, and we would hate to see YOU inadvertently re-create a misery-making mistake for the children and residents through not learning the lessons of the past.

    FULL consultation - with ALL the facts for ALL residents at the SOONEST date BEFORE building starts is the only way to keep reputations and village resident relations intact.

  15. I have received a couple of standard petition letters about the proposed development of Melrose Road playground.

    I can categorically say that in formal consultation where there is a clear majority against developing the site (as appears to be the case)consultees will be listened to and development won't be imposed.

    Of course where other proposals are put forward I will listen to them and continue to fight to gain money to develop play facilities in Thringstone.

  16. the skate park is just what we need,those of us with younger children can play on the little park while keeping an eye on our older ones on the skate park. these kids need something they enjoy to stop them getting board.its a briiliant idea. good luck!

  17. i can understand the reservations of the people who live across the road ie:clyde court, melrose rd as regards to added noise and the possibility of ASB but some of the comments here are from people who dont even live near the proposed site. i accept everyones views should be respected but to oppose the skate park because "the woodside estate" would have everything is sheer petulance. the ground off main street seems a non starter so lets get it done and stop throwing spanners in the works.

  18. thumbs up for the skate will be a good thing

  19. to be honest id probably be less understanding if i lived accross the road from the park but im worried sick everytime my son goes up to whitwick park. having to go up the main road for a mile there and mile back just to have some fun on his skate board.NOW thats wrong. skate park please

  20. the issue with anti-social behaviour in thringstone will continue with or without the skate park FACT. WHY? because the youths are bored with ziltch to do. and now some people want to block a really positive idea to give the kids/youths something to entertain them.

  21. Why not give the kids a chance. If it gets vandalised then rip it down and take it away.

  22. I would really appriciate a skate/scooter park in Thringstone especially on the ground behind the miners welfair club, my son has to go into Whitwick to be able to play on his scooter and as it get dark so early in the winter this means he can not go out

  23. The area behind the miners welfare club is far too isolated. guaranteed to be vandalised.At least if it were on melrose if any problems occur like noise/vandalism then this can be reported to the police.


  25. NO youth clubs, NO recreational activities available. WHY should my kids have to go to whitwick or coalville to find something to do. the skate park is a fantastic idea and would put alot of parents at ease knowing there kids would be in the village at least.


  27. A skatepark is a good idea just look how popular they are in other towns/villages, low maintenance and very "in" at the moment.

  28. A skate park in Tringstone is an excellent idea, why should we in Thringstone be the only village not to have decent facilities for our children. People who do not wish to see or hear children I would suggest live on a main road instead of an estate, were they never children once. I am quite annoyed that all chidren nowadays get tarred with the same brush. I feel that if the funding is refused we should maybe all get together for major fundraising ideas.

  29. I hear from Mr Everritt that 'no further consultation will take place' and that the scheme (whatever it is) will be be in place by end of May'.

    WHY is there no further consultation with the villagers?

    WHICH scheme has been chosen on our behalf?

  30. Hi,

    following the initial consultation officers went away to come up with prospective plans for the play provision.

    In short, taking into account feedback, a decision was made to move away from 'wheeled provision' and towards improved play facilities to complement the existing provision (along with improved safety features such as a low level fence to prevent small children from running into the road).

    A couple of months ago members were presented with three options which officers were asked to consult on with original respondents. I understood that this had been done.

    As such we were provided feedback that an improved provision would be installed before the end of this financial year.

    I will check what consultation was carried out as part of this process.

    Kind regards