six weeks on and Charlton King's new centrepiece project isn't exactly
the pretty picture it was first unveiled as.
centrepiece development, surrounding Church Place, Grange Field
and Beeches park was officially opened on August 1st 2004 by Cheltenham
mayor Robert Garnham, after months of gruelling work from a partnership
of residents' group CK2000 along with Charlton Kings parish and
Cheltenham Borough Council.
marking the occasion was uncovered in front of crowds of eager residents
who enjoyed a fete atmosphere and attractions including a stilt
walker, bouncy castle, model balloons and barbecue. New paving and
seating was put in place, trees and shrubs had been planted, new
lighting was fitted, walls were painted terracotta and a mosaic
water rill, designed by local school children, was also installed
in a complete renovation of the once rundown looking area. The local
youngsters also got their wish - a brand new skate park at Beeches.
this was part of 'The Centrepiece Scheme' which was funded by a
£500,000 grant from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
A place to take pride in and look after you would think?
you couldn't be more wrong. One look at the location now and you'd
be forgiven for not realising any work had been undertaken. Broken
benches, seats with graffiti on them and plants covered with litter
is more likely the sight you will be met with. Not something you
would expect from a recently finished development.
sit and be proud?
much for a place where we can 'stop, sit and be proud' as Adam Reynolds
of Cheltenham Borough Council originally commented.
it's more like a place where we can stop, sit and be ashamed.
of the mindless vandals who have caused this mess less than two
months after it was completed.
of the fact that the council has already had to come and repair
ashamed that we seem to live in a time where some people have a complete
lack of respect for the hard work and money that has been put in -
£525,000 worth to be exact.
seems that the vandals couldn't even wait until the scheme was finished.
Crude graffiti appeared on newly painted walls before the the final
touches were even put in place and residents recently admitted they
were worried about vandalism which they commented was rife in the
why has all this happened? There was a special effort to create
a space for everyone- young, old, skaters, bikers, mothers and toddlers.
Yet it seems that this was still not enough. Some people were still
not happy. Vandalism has still taken place.
grants were only given to 10 sites in the whole country. According
to Mr Garnham 'People here (Charlton Kings) have realised the dream.'
Well Mr Garnham, maybe you should have a closer look
is ruining the area. It has to stop. And it has to stop now.
by Fay Daniels
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