Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Let Telford be a warning!

Last Friday, Emma who lives in Birmingham and reads my blog, told me about a story on the front page of the free Metro newspaper last Thursday (10 Sep 2008). The headline read 'On your own in the park… are you a pervert? and the story began 'People taking a stroll in the park on their own are being stopped and questioned by council officials on the look out for paedophiles. Anyone spotted walking in Telford Town Park without at least one child is likely to be asked to explain what they are doing (and) if their answer does not prove satisfactory, they may be thrown out of the park and reported to the police'. The story goes on to say that all this came to light because two (women) environmental campaigners dressed as penguins were ordered out of the park for handing out leaflets about climate change.

Emma and the Metro led me to search the web for more about the story and Telford Town Park. They got the story from the Shropshire Star, who made the following video:

Telford and its Town Park may have made the national news and attracted the attention of the local press over its 1984 Police State policy towards lone visitors to its parks, but this led me to another story, which is equally deserving of our attention in Nottingham. There is a 'Friends of Telford Town Park' group and there is a
The 'Hands On Our Park' (HOOP) group. The latter was set up by local people when it became clear that the 'Friends' was no more than 'a group specifically set up by the Borough of Telford and Wrekin in order to help draw down funding' to help develop Telford Town Park.

Obviously, things in Telford have got out of hand, but we should not be complacent here in Nottingham. The truth is all these things could happen here! We must be on our guard at all times against those who want to exclude 'undesirables' from our parks and to use the goodwill of local residents towards their local parks to save the council money, rather than to actually increase expenditure.

In fact, we already have parks in Nottingham without seating or litter bins in order to deter unwelcome visitors. The danger of 'Friends' groups for parks is that they actually compete against one another for limited funds and the parks in the better off areas will almost certainly come off best — because they are more likely to have the skills to raise funds.

Read this blog and decide for yourself. I do not exaggerate.

See also the Wikipedia entry for Telford Town Park.

Wheelchair racer Shelly Woods capped an eventful Paralympics to win Great Britain's 100th medal of the Games with silver in the women's T54 1500 metres in Beijing today.


Anonymous said...

It is unfortunate, that this incident is not unique to the town Park, last park wardens ejected apensioner from the park for handing out leaflets to save the park from being built on.

The Council shifted the park boundaries inorder to allow developers the opportunity to build and this latest incident was a mis-use of CRB legislation, as the Council said, "you need crb checks and risk assessments to handout leaflets"

the council did apologise, but this conincided with a lottery application which could see a road through the park.

Unfortunately, the have ruined the experience of the park for many.


Bettercoffeelifelessbitter said...

We at the 'Better Coffee Life Less Bitter Blog' (have put a link from our new blog to your blog which we're using to develop a business and community approach to coffee drinking in Nottingham...:


Supporting the lovely atmosphere where people of all ages are welcome! Gloria Jean's, Long Row Nottingham. Let us know what you think of the blog!

Bettercoffeelifelessbitter said...

Hi Robert

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Kind regards
Gloria Jeans

September 19, 2008 4:12 AM