There is a new proposal to build a hard street sports area on Aristotle Lane Recreation Ground. It is concealed within a report to the North Area Committee which is due to be considered on Thursday 5 July at Diamond Place Community Centre in Summertown at 6:30 pm.
Although the provision of a street sports area is the biggest single expense listed in the report (at £47,000) it is not specifically referred to in the body of the report, save for a vague reference to a “hard standing area”. Why does the report’s author conceal this part of the proposal?
The answer is that the council officers are having another go at building a skate area. They know it will be bitterly opposed, and hope to get approval for this one without anyone noticing. That much is easy to deduce. What is not so clear is why they adopt this devious approach – if they recommend the street sports area, one would expect to see this clearly stated in the body of the report, not just slipped into the budget.
On 11 March 2004, Oxford City Council started to dig up the concrete platform which they had laid down for skate-boarding and similar street sports at Aristotle Lane. The total bill for putting it down and digging it up again exceeded £50,000.
The main reason for the failure of the project was that the noise from the site far exceeded the legal limits for such activities close to houses. The real cost was far greater than mere money, important though that was. The city council’s campaign to put the site there included a misleading questionnaire, a falsified report of the outcome of the questionnaire, and a recommendation to the then Leisure Committee which exaggerated the support for the site, suppressed the objections and underplayed the difficulties. We seem to be going down the same road again.
The main damage was to democracy. The Aristotle Rec skate-board saga is the source of the widely-held view locally that there is no point is taking part in Oxford City Council’s consultations because the council will both falsify the results and ignore the outcome. The two local councillors found themsevles powerless in the face of a councillor from another Ward who was determined to put a skate-board area there and did not care what methods he used to do it.
I will recount this story in a separate post. The purpose of this one is to urge you to:
Contact the Councillors
Alan Armitage tel: 07799 892385 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Clark Brundin Tel: 01865 510868 E-Mail email@example.com
to express your views and
Turn up at the meeting on Thursday 5 July at 6:30