I gather that Oxford’s North Area Committee took little time to see off a council officer’s plan to dump a tarmac skate area on Aristotle Lane Recreation Ground. See the full thread of articles about it here.
The councillors were all deeply pissed off to find that a contentious and expensive proposal had been slipped into the budget for Rec improvements without any prior warning and, indeed, without any supporting argument in the officer’s report. Even those who still hanker for a hard surface in place of the grass voted against the proposal because of the manner in which it was presented.
The rest, it seems, could see an albatross looming over their Inboxes and were keen to kill the idea fast. For most of them, anything which had the potential to screw up the porosity of the surface was a complete non-starter, and all the arguments about noise, the social implications and the rest of the lessons which everyone (except, apparently the officer who drafted the report) learnt the last time around did not get much discussion.
Two councillors, apparently, were slower on the uptake than the rest and wanted further investigations into hard surfaces. They seemed to think that older children were still not being offered anything.
They are, of course. They are getting a drained surface and some more kickabout goals, the basic things which were asked for six years ago and which a generation of children has had to do without because of the pig-headed imposition of a skate area.
Relief at the outcome is tempered by real anger at the pen-pusher who made a recommendation which she knew was going to be unacceptable. It is hard to tell with some of these officers whether they are too dim to understand what they are doing or deliberately set out to cause upset.
To put this another way, slipping this item into the budget was going inevitably to cause residents to drop everything and leap to the defence of their area, with a consequent burden on the councillors. Did this dozy little cow launch the idea with that effect in mind or was she really too stupid to anticipate the reaction? Either way, she deserves to lose her job. Competence, however, is not a qualification for working for Oxford City Council, nor is lack of it a bar.