A new and old Greenhead Park for everybody

Over the last couple of years or so, there has been a massive investment made by Kirklees Council and partners, in the regeneration of Greenhead Park. Me and Lil’Roo went up there yesterday tea-time for a bit of a nosey. Impressed? Yes, very much so.

There is clearly a lot of work still to do, and I am acutely aware there were some quite fervent objections to removal of a number of trees and to the change in location of the play area (I know, because I was the officer facilitating an area committee meeting where we received a presentation). Yet, I think what has been done has been done with respect and integrity.

I love the fact they used a lot of old photographs and ‘memories’ submitted by and collected from people who would have known the park as it used to be ‘back in the day’. So, bearing in mind not everybody is going to pleased with all elements, I think this new ‘old’ park is really good.

I took some photos that I hope capture some of the great renovation work, and how inviting the park now is…far more so than it was previously! Unfortunately, I only had my phone with me, so they’re not the best.

One of the most inviting things, maybe strangely, were the paths. They have all been tarmacked and the smooth even surface gives that great impression of ‘new’. And for bike riding, well Lil’Roo loved that bit!

For me, I love the reinstating of the lake/pond area, which is very pleasant to stroll around. Admittedly, it’s not all that relaxing when your youngest is circling it on her bike; she can swim, but still, be aware! Having a back drop which includes the band stand, really helps set the scene and I imagine that during the summer months (should we get them), there will be much frivolity.

Of course, there is also the play area, or several to be precise, which cater for the very young right through to the older children. Watch out for the zip-wire though, hold on tight,  it’s got a bit of a kick at the end!

Not yet fully restored, but what I expect to be one of the grandest features, is the restored ‘greenhouse’ which is currently having, I think, a sort of visitor centre/cafe extension built onto it.

Anyway, it was a nice couple of hours we spent up there. Can’t wait for the warmer weather!

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Just a reason why frontline services in Local Gov should be celebrated!

Charles Dickens (1812-1870)
Image via Wikipedia

“Facts, facts, and more facts!” A line, if I remember correctly, from the headmaster character in Dickens’s ‘Hard Times’.

Quite the appropriate book, don’t you think, considering the times we find ourselves in. The word austere, has surely never had so much coverage. Appropriate as it may be, the Hard Times reference is merely one of coincidence here.

Facts, though, are facts. Facts are, for the most part boring, in my opinion. There is little creativity in facts, due mostly to the fact they are so inflexible. Fact! (Cue, the fact busters…but you know what I’m getting at)

It is facts that are the most fundamental principle on which we should make decisions. Not being in possession of all the facts can lead us to…can only lead us to…making incorrect decisions. This cannot be good when it comes to local authorities making decisions on how they direct resources to address specific problems – large or small.

So look, I’ll get to the point. A true story, that inspired this blog, will highlight this very fact. But, I want it to beknown from the outset this is about the value that dedicated frontline staff can bring to a local authority. I will relate it as best I can!

Picture a street cleaner, who has a ’round’ in a small village. He knows pretty much every inch of that village and a fair few people too. He’s respected their for the great job he does.

In that village though, there’s an issue. Every Friday and Saturday night, the village gets pretty darn busy; pubs full, drinks flowing. The following mornings, between the main pubs and the taxi pick up point, there is a horrendous mess. We’re talking left over pizza, burgers, chips, with a polystyrene packaging bonus to boot, strewn across path and street.

As a result the poor Street Cleaner has to clear all this up. What’s more, one or two council services, maybe including a partner like the Police, have to think about how they can address this issue with the obvious ‘louts’ (young or old) who are doing this. These citizens are clearly irresponsible and something needs to be done. Discussions take place, meetings with all concerned, discussing potential projects to implement to either educate and/or lay down the law to put a stop to this, to what I am sure we would all agree is anti-social behaviour. A deserved use of small, but necessary resources required to launch whatever it is that is needed to solve the issue.

But here comes the genius, that being of the 99% perspiration 1% inspiration kind – the one where dedication brings rewards. The Street Cleaner, doesn’t get it! Something does not quite stack up for him. So what does he do? He starts work earlier in the morning, on a nagging doubt maybe, just to see…but what?

What he is able to feed back to his superiors, who in the best interests of everybody concerned have acted accordingly, is a not only a different point of view, but a point of view based on fact. He did not surmise this point of view, he established the facts through application.

This is what he discovered. By starting earlier in the morning, specifically because of this issue, he noticed that the when he got to the street there was no such rubbish as he was used to seeing. Those louts then, were perhaps not louts. Or, maybe they were a different kind of lout; and this is what he discovered.

Crows! Crows, on making their early morning start, were ripping and pecking out the rubbish that the ‘louts’ had left in the bin the night before. It was the crows whom were making the mess, not the citizens of said village. So to quickly finish off, it wasn’t the collaborative invention of partners that brought a solution to issue, but the genius of application by a single person, a key frontline worker, who posessed ‘the facts’ that was able to bring resolution.

This is not to decry collaboration, really just to highlight that frontline staff in local authorities are perhaps better placed to give advice or direction to service delivery. The solution to the problem was simple, the dedication brilliant; that the Street Cleaner went down early every morning, before the crows, to take that food packaging out of the bins before it found itself strewn across the streets.

Just a reason why frontline services should be celebrated!