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Bonkers Blog November 2015

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22 November (Part 2) - It was a bit of a struggle but it cost 20 minutes, not ninety grand

Keeping this blog alive entails being a journalist, photographer, occasional interviewer, publicist, web designer and IT expert and it is all down to me, which is why blogs do not appear to a regular timetable. It is why the Forum is still deactivated too. There is simply no time to play with it.

You may note that researcher is not on the jobs list, it should be but it has become a major casualty of insufficient time.

The situation has been going down hill all year. Younger helpers go off and start families, older ones slow down and three I know of have died during the past couple of years. Watching a council for signs of corruption needs a lot of time and few young people have any spare. All of which is an excuse for stealing the basic inspiration for this blog from the Save Old Farm Park campaign group. They have found the time to do the basic research that once upon a time I would have tackled myself.

First a quick reminder of a small part of what councillor June Slaughter said last Tuesday. (Bexley is 4th worst in Outer London for green space if you’ve lost your headphones.)

Deputy director Toni Ainge who achieved her position under director Peter Ellershaw who retired last year, waffled a response about statistics, said those in her own report were correct (well she would wouldn’t she) and disputed June Slaughter’s figures. At the 23 second mark in this clip she said she “struggled to find them”.

Malcolm Wright who is one of the leaders of the Save Old Farm Park campaign has said on the campaign’s Face Book page that he took about five minutes to find what Bexley’s so called expert couldn’t find. Toni Ainge costs us £88,854 in salary and allowances and more than £17k. annually in pension contribution. One might have expected at least basic Googling skills.

However it may not be as easy as it should be. Malcolm’s Facebook page shows that Bexley is ranked 6th from bottom amongst Outer London boroughs, not 4th as councillor June Slaughter stated. The discrepancy may be year related. Malcolm’s list comes from 2010, June was not specific.

I have been looking for something more up to date and eventually found the 2015 figures. It was suggested at the cabinet meeting that there are lies, damned lies and statistics and of course that is true. Should one compare the total amount of green space in a borough or the percentage of each borough which is green space? It does make a difference.

However these are the current percentage figures. The table is sorted by percentage of Green Space.
Land Use

Click table for two page PDF version.

By my calculations only three Outer London boroughs are worse off than Bexley in terms of the proportion of the borough which is ‘green’.

So councillor June Slaughter was absolutely correct to say Bexley is 4th worst off in Outer London and 17th worst if one includes the city centre boroughs which are naturally more built up. I confess it took me about 15 minutes to find the document, download it and sort it into the right sequence. Even so I think that makes deputy director Toni Ainge a bit of a numbskull, don’t you?

Source data.


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