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Barnard Park revamp an example of the dangers of groupthink

01 September, 2017

The government unexpectedly halts the Town Hall’s controversial decision to revamp Barnard Park

• THE Department for Communities and Local Government’s decision to “call in” the move to revamp Barnard Park is great news and should be a wake-up call for Islington Council and Labour councillors, who have managed to ignore our views, ignore the views of interested local sport groups and, more importantly, completely ignore the views of Sport England (Government halts controversial park revamp decision, August 25).

It is worth noting that only one in 1,000 objections from Sports England end up at the doorstep of the DCLG, which demonstrates the arrogance of the council.

Despite all this and the call-in, Councillor Claudia Webbe is still insisting they had “extensive discussions” with the community and park users. The consultation was seriously flawed, narrow in scope and wrongly interpreted by the council.

We have almost 1,000 signatures to a petition begging the DCLG to call in the matter – all local people, not one of whom knew about the consultation.

There is something rotten in this council, but could it be otherwise when all but one of the 48 councillors are Labour? Maybe as voters we have the council we deserve.

In such a situation it is inevitable that you get groupthink, no proper debate and an ability by the leader of the council to push through a particular agenda, which is not always in the best interests of the community and, in the case of Barnard Park, very misguided.

The only real support for the council’s plans came from the Friends of Barnard Park. The council’s attitude to the Sobell Centre would appear to be another example of its high-handed ways.

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