Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Answering Your Questions - Part 1

As a result of the survey that many residents will have seen, I've had an email from a resident in Marlow Drive asking some interesting questions of me as he decides how to vote in the by-election on 2nd July. I thought that highlights of the exchange
may help:

Should police have powers to move on groups of youths in our parks?
Resident: No - police already have the power to stop unruly behaviour but moving on groups just because they are full of youths is wrong. The park is for everyone.

Georg: You are right that the parks are for everyone. Young people should be able to enjoy our parks as well; most do. However the police need more powers to address antisocial behaviour when it occurs, especially from gangs that come into the area. Dispersal orders in these instances are effective in neighbouring boroughs. Many trouble makers in these places that aren’t simply there to enjoy the facilities, are coming in from outside Sutton.

Do the council pay enough attention to North Cheam and Worcester Park?
Resident: Hard to say - I have had cause to complain on a few recent occasions and the local Lib Dem councillor has always responded quickly. I could comment that the development of shopping areas in North Cheam and Worcester Park doesn't look great, but Sutton town centre is hardly something to write home about.
Georg: Sutton town centre is having £3million spent on it at the moment. You are right that it is hardly something to write home about. However, the state of the roads in Worcester Park are amongst the worst in the Borough, scant attention has been given to the effect that the state of Victoria House has on the wider area and the west of the Borough is under most pressure for school places and health facilities.

Do I get value for money from the Council Tax I pay?
Resident: It's always a lot of money but for the services that it has to provide, it's never enough. I honestly cannot see how a different party leading the council could spend the money any better. It would spend it differently no doubt, but better - who knows.
Georg: One simple example is the controversial £8 million Sutton Life Centre. It will contain a library, but a larger one nearby is being closed to help pay for the project. It will contain youth facilities but a youth club was flattened to make way for the new building. It will teach children citizenship but at three times the cost to parents as the existing citizenship course held at Sutton Junior Tennis Centre. Meanwhile, money has come from council reserves and the schools’ repair budget to fund a scheme at a time of economic crisis. You can see more about this at www.freezethetax.org.uk.

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