For those that don't know, Cllr. Rackley is on the Labour front bench at Basildon Countil, and he is deeply in love with the Conservative Party and all of its works.
The point you seem to miss is that the various groups opposed to your administration's policy of selling off open space to fund the Sporting Village is that people value their open space and want to keep it.I am very well aware that people value open space, especially open space adjacent to their homes. However, it is not engaging in grown-up politics to pretend that is the only issue. Most serious decisions in politics are a balance between a number of interests. What we haven't had from the Labour Party is what you would have done instead to deal with gradual decline of the Council's ability to offer sports facilities to residents. You are aware of course that just about every sporting organisation in Basildon Borough agrees with the Conservative Administration on this matter. Their voices count too you know.
As far as Gloucester Park is concerned you have already taken a big chunk of it for the Sporting Village and rather than compensating the people, and not only those living in the vicinity, by returning the area around the swimming pool to parkland you are intent in flogging that off.The development at the Southern end of Gloucester Park is a similar balance. In this case between the use of the land, which is all brownfield by the way, or the gradual decline of Basildon Town Centre. Houses here will help fund much-needed infrastructure in both Gloucester Park and the Town Centre, as well as adding to footfall in the Town Centre which the businesses there desperately need. The Conservative Administration view is that allowing Basildon Town Centre to continue on a downward path would be bad for the Borough as a whole, but especially for those residents in central Basildon. These are your constituents by the way. Right now the only policy from Labour appears to be that we should do nothing about this. In fact, according to your Leader there is no actual problem at all, which suggests that a proliferation of closed or charity shops is a good thing. Do you agree with this by the way?
As far as the political allegiances of those supporting the campaign is concerned, I'm not privy to information about their political allegiances but one thing is clear they certainly don't support the plundering of community assets being undertaken by your administration.The leading light of the Gloucester Park Campaign, the chap who copies you on his emails and you have repeated been photographed in the local press standing next to, stood for Labour for Wickford in a Council election just over a month ago. Yet you are seriously claiming that you didn't know he was a member of the Labour party? Please pull the other one, it's got bells on.
On the Gloucester Park matter, how much do you think your proposed course of action would cost the Council? I would not imagine that you would be suggesting this without having some idea at least, and I think it would move the debate on if you would let us all know what your figure is?
There is a deal of hypocrisy in some of what else you say. For example, the last Labour administration gave Billericay Football Club planning permission for a stadium right where the Sporting Village is today. Arguments about loss of park space clearly did not matter when up against a privately-owned minority sporting interest. At least the current use is publicly-owned and caters to a huge amount of sports participation, as opposed to a few hundred spectators every other Saturday during the football season. For comparison, as of last Wednesday we had 25000 individuals, that is not counting repeat visits, at the Sporting Village. How may do you think would used Labour's alternative football stadium?
I am reminded in this whole thing about the new George Hurd Centre. This took up open space in order to provide a old age person's Day Centre and offices for charities helping the aged. We had a similar row backed by the Labour Party, until the facility was built when it was suddenly the best thing since sliced bread. What characterised that matter was a complete refusal on the part of Basildon Labour to even acknowledge that there was even another point of view. Then, like now, Labour essentially suggested that Conservative Councillors got out of bed one morning and then decided to do something evil before lunch.
Here we are again.