Thursday, June 25, 2009

Spending Money and other problems

Who'd have thought that spending money could be so fraught with difficulty? For years Liberal Democrat councillors argued for having a budget to be spent in each ward according to what local people wanted. When we finally got it we found it hedged with restrictions so that we couldn't actually have quite a lot of what people wanted. Nevertheless we've managed in Eaglescliffe to do most of the things people asked for in the first couple of years, including some which we'd been told previously were impossible like surfacing the area between the church gate and the cemetery at Egglescliffe and improving the path from West View Tce to Yarm Rd. This year we've had a number of requests which we're probably not going to be able to satisfy, not because there's not enough money to do everything (though there isn't) but because one person's meat is another person's poison. One wants tarmac instead of grass while his neighbour wants the grass improved. One wants parking and another doesn't. One wants roundabouts improved while another doesn't. We can't please everyone and so it goes on. One good thing about having the budget and publicising it is that lots of people are getting involved in making suggestions on how to spend it - real local democracy which is what Liberal Democrats have argued for over years. Give power to the people and we'll use it well. If only the Westminster Government could believe that, what a different country it would be.
This week I've also been involved in putting together a bid for funding for some work to be done to the Parish Council land near the war memorial at Egglescliffe. In 2006 we had some plans drawn up for making that into a Memorial Garden but then the funding applications didn't work out and the work was never done. This week we decided to look at doing some smaller scale work such as laying the hedge and planting up low shrub beds on the slopes to the memorial as well as a plaque recording the history of the memorial. There's the possibility of grants towards that sort of work if we can get some community involvement in the project.
Meanwhile if you live in the area and know anything about hedge laying please get in touch!

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