Labour and Tory councillors in Crawley wrangle over location of facility

In an odd reversal of the more familiar not-in-my-backyard style wrangling that often besets local politics, a tug-of-war is underway in Crawley, West Sussex over the location of a new BMX track

The Crawley News reports that Labour councillors are claiming that Conservative Lenny Walker, Crawley Borough Council's cabinet member for leisure and culture, is trying to move the new facility from the less affluent Langley Green area into the wealthier east of the town, which is dominated by the Tories.

But Cllr Walker is insisting he is trying to redress the "huge imbalance" in current services, the News reports.

In an e-mail leaked to the newspaper, Cllr Walker told fellow Tories the east of the town is woefully provided for and asked councillors representing east Crawley wards to drive around and look for other suitable sites for the BMX track.

Cllr Walker told the Crawley News: "I don't think there is any sense in putting a new facility next to an already existing adventure playground, when there are other areas of the town that could use it.

Langley Green's Cllr Brenda Smith told the publication: "I believe this is a politically-driven attempt to provide the best facilities to the Tory area of the town."

Labour Cllr Stephen Joyce, also a representative of Langley Green, said the idea for a BMX track to be built in the area was initially suggested by a group of local youngsters.
He told the News: "We thought it was an absolutely fantastic idea. These lads were fed up of being told to stop cycling on the paths, so they wanted a site where they could cycle freely.

"Cherry Lane adventure playground was seen as an obvious choice and now suddenly it seems to me that the track is being taken away."

A Crawley Borough spokesman told the publication: "We are still weighing up the pros and cons of sites across the town. We should have a decision on the preferred option by the end of this week."


OldRidgeback [2826 posts] 7 years ago

Interesting comparison to be made with Edinburgh then. In Edinburgh the planned site of a BMX facility was moved from a central location in an affluent area to one in the west of the city, in a noticeably less affluent area. The reason was that one posh objector didn't want the BMX facility near his house. So it was moved. As part of the 'ofsetting' process, he agreed to have the nearby former boating pond turned into a wetland area. This has attracted rats and I hope he's happy with them. At the same time, the BMX facility is now in a very protestant part of Edinburgh. While sectarianism isn't as strong in Edinburgh as the West of Scotland or Northern ireland, it is there. And there have been a numer of fights at the facility, which now has a bad reputation for violence. The upmarket area would have been neutral ground. Everybody has lost out, including the posh rich bloke who now has rats in his house.

What's interesting is that in this instance, different parties are fighting to HAVE the facility. Posh kids do ride BMX bikes too incidentally.