Saturday, April 09, 2011

Community Participation Budget

This is the money allocated to the ward to be spent by ward councillors in consultation with residents on a very restricted range of things in the ward.  The concept was proposed by Lib Dem councillors some years ago and finally agreed by Stockton Council in time to start spending 3 years ago.
A resident of Preston who prefers to remain anonymous has commented on a previous blog post with a question about how much of this budget has been spent in Preston as opposed to other parts of the ward.  The question reminded me that though we put a lot of information about the budget in Focus, not everyone reads it or remembers the detail and mainly from lack of space we don’t put all the costs and detailed descriptions in.
First of all it needs to be said that we ask each year for ideas for spending the budget, in Focus but also when we knock on doors doing surveys of opinion in the ward.  We have had very few suggestions from residents of Preston Parish which could mean that they are satisfied with what they have, or could mean that they don’t believe we’d listen or that they can’t be bothered or just that there are a lot fewer people living in Preston than in the rest of the ward.  For example in the 2001 census there were 1748 people living in Preston Parish but 7908 in Egglescliffe Parish. 
What we have done in Preston is to make sure that there are litter bins at any bus stops which didn’t have them; put dog waste bins where we’ve been asked including Quarry Rd and the riverside in Preston Park; put shrubs in the green area in Larch Crescent and added to flowers along the verges in Yarm Rd where possible.  We’ve been asked to put in some extra car parking bays in a couple of roads but haven’t succeeded in finding a scheme that is agreed by the majority of the residents of those roads and is affordable.  We’ve had a study done on the trees in Ashville Avenue in order to see what can be done to ensure that the road stays as a tree lined avenue but the trees don’t damage the pavements and the houses, but the solution was so expensive it would take years of the budget to carry it out and there is no guarantee that the budget will continue beyond next year.   We have asked Stockton Council officers to consult on options there. 
We have no outstanding requests from Preston Parish residents but we do have some money left in this year’s budget.  It would be difficult to get it spent now before the election but the new councillors will have it available immediately in May if there are schemes forthcoming.  Perhaps the anonymous comment leaver has some thoughts and perhaps she or he would like to send them to me by email so that they can be dealt with properly?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One finds it difficult to believe that residents don't rely on Focus for finding out what is happening in their area when your latest election leaflet dedicates more space to national issues than it does to Eaglescliife!
Whilst I could take issue with your blaming the residents of Preston for not thinking of ideas for you on how the budget could be spent (god forbid your focus on the area is insufficent for you to think of them yourself) but perhaps you could provide us a breakdown in cash terms as to where you chose to spend your ward budget?