I am well used to Bexley council; officers, cabinet and ordinary members
spouting nonsense as if it is fact.
It is impossible to be sure that Deputy Director Toni Ainge is unable to master the intricacies of Google searches or whether the need to lie in support of the council’s demands takes precedence. I suspect it is the latter, I have seen many wonderful examples over the years. Some have resulted in police investigations.
Another example of presenting dubious facts came from Cabinet member Don Massey last week. You may remember that the council plonked a man with a van outside Old Farm Park to count visitors from 28th October to 3rd November. A week when only one day wasn’t absolutely horrible. (My solar panels log their output at 15 minute intervals and the past four weeks have seen the worst sequence of sunless days in the past five years.)
As a result Massey said that park usage was low…
…and with only 371 dog walkers and miscellaneous exercisers logged
during the time the observers didn’t have their noses in the newspaper, maybe
the recorded numbers were low. But were they right?
The observers also reported that 37 people attended a meeting held in the park on the Sunday…
… but that doesn’t seem right to me. Here’s a photo of them.
The true number appears to be at least in the middle sixties. The organisers said it was 70. Perhaps observers weren’t able to see in the fog.
The conclusion can only be that not only was the survey done during an unrepresentative week but that it was also horribly inaccurate.
Bexley has a pretty bad obesity record as anyone who looks around the shopping areas would confirm.
But councillor Massey says there is no correlation between that and the proximity of park land.
Cabinet member Massey appears to be someone else with an aversion to Google.
I searched for ‘child obesity and availability of parks’ and came up with a good choice of studies from around the world. They all said that obesity was in inverse proportion to the availability of nearby parks. The difference between one being 500 metres away and 1,000 metres was easily measurable.
Councillor Don Massey is simply wrong with his various assertions. He may need to sell the parks to make ends meet but why does he not admit that the only reason is Tory cuts? Stories about surplus green space, low usage and park availability having no impact on fitness levels is just a smoke screen to cover ineptitude.
Bexley had joint third best (within a pound) local tax rate in 1991 and had sunk to 23rd worst in 2007, and despite all those electoral claims it is in 24th place now. Bexley Tories may have convinced themselves of their financial wizardry but the truth is rather different.