On Thursday morning we paid a visit to Working Links in New Street. This is an organisation contracted to provide "Welfare to work" services for the government. We became involved through Jason who is the operations manager there but is also a Longbridge resident. We met him when we put out a welcome letter to new residents of a development which was suffering a lot of anti-social behaviour. The planners, god bless em, had insisted that a children's play ground was installed in the grounds of a complex designed for young professionals. The number of young children living there was almost nil and the only people attracted to the playground were older teenagers who were very dominant and caused lots of problems for the residents. Luckily our letter gave them someone to contact and we worked with local police and the ASB team to sort it out. Councillors often complain that the use of Section 106 money should be directed by local Councillors rather than planners as we are the ones who are in contact with local people and have a much better idea of local conditions. This playground cost about 90k and is virtually useless. we could have spent that money in a way that would have really benefited our youngsters without causing all these problems. Still, we keep on keeping on.
Last night we held our first Longbridge Ward Committee of this Municipal year. Nothing too controversial but I did have to announce that we are losing our Ward Support Officer Veronica Coleman. Veronica has been promoted to a job in Emergency Planning. As she is a Major in the TA her military experience will stand her in good stead. She has been one of the most effective and hard-working officers we have encountered, often going above and beyond for the good of Longbridge and she will be a hard act to follow. Our best wishes go with her.
Today we are off to Somerset for Sue's mom's funeral. More on Saturday.