Splash Park is a relic from a bygone age when councils thought that adding to
the amenities available to residents was the sort of thing they should be doing,
rather than filling in fountains and selling off libraries and public toilets.
It’s actually not that long ago since councils believed in providing
services rather than cutting them, no more than ten years.
The Belvedere Splash Park was built by Bexley’s Labour administration but didn’t open for business until after they were voted out of office in 2006 for being seen as rather profligate with our cash. Not that the Tories handed any of it back and Bexley’s 24th worst position in the tax league table is the same as it was eight years ago. Maybe the Tories are not as clever as they think they are.
A free Splash Park in the north of the borough - there is another in the more salubrious Danson Park - is probably not something a Conservative council would be very keen on and true to form, almost as soon as it opened they proposed to charge an entrance fee. The idea created sufficient protest for the idea to go away, but it wasn’t forgotten. When reelected in 2010 the Tories tried again only to meet with the same fate.
In 2014 they may have moved more subtly. The Splash Park in now closed for Essential Maintenance every Monday and Thursday. According to a council source - but please remember there are a lot of disgruntled people working there at the moment and this one may be directly affected by the reduced opening times - this closure is a sham. It’s about not having to pay the attendants.
When I took a look today all the gates were padlocked and there was no sign of life until two men carrying a metal toolbox emerged from a shed to look at one of the barriers around a play area. Maybe a nut needed tightening.
Whether this is real maintenance or the sham my informant believes it to be is hard to tell, but two things occur to me. One is that the pool has not needed twice weekly scheduled maintenance in previous years and neither does the splash pool in Danson park which continues to be open every day of the year.
Bexley council wouldn’t have a different policy for the north than the south would they?