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Re-elected Conservative MPs meet with Council Leader

The Leader of Bexley’s Conservative Council has met with the returned Conservative MPs for Old Bexley and Sidcup and Bexleyheath and Crayford.

Cllr Teresa O’Neill, OBE, the Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP and Rt Hon David Evennett MP discussed a range of issues, including some of the successful achievements that were highlighted during the General Election.

These included unemployment being at its lowest rate for over 40 years and the support from residents for the recent Council budget increases for cutting grass, cleaning streets and improving roads and pavements. There was praise for the emergency services for their swift action in dealing with the terrorist attack at London Bridge.

During the meeting, there was a discussion about the horrific fire in Kensington, and Cllr O’Neill was able to set out some of the action taken by the Council to confirm with the Borough’s housing associations that all the appropriate risk assessments and fire safety checks were in place.

It was also noted that London Borough of Bexley staff had been providing help and support to the local council as they dealt with the many consequences of the awful incident.

Bexley Conservative Council’s zero tolerance of litter louts is having an impact.

Your Conservative Council’s zero tolerance of people who chuck litter, fail to clear up their dog’s mess or fly tip has seen over 3,000 litter louts issued with fixed penalty notices since last November.

Cllr Peter Craske, the Conservative Cabinet Member for the Environment, welcomed this news.

“Like many, many residents we are sick to death of a small minority of people just chucking away their litter on the highway or in parks and ruin our Bexley. People should dispose of their litter in a bin or take it home to dispose of. I am pleased we have particularly issued penalty notices to people who spit on the highway, a disgusting practice.

“So many residents and businesses have been in touch to welcome this initiative, and they can see the impact it is having.”

Businesses in town centres have already observed a dramatic reduction in the litter left around at the end of the trading day.

Cllr Craske added: “Bexley is a fantastic place to live. I cannot believe anyone would oppose a zero tolerance of littering, and take the side of litter louts. I would note that clearing up discarded litter or flytipped materials also costs taxpayers additional money, as this mess has to be cleared up on top of the street cleaning and bin emptying that already takes place.”

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Recently, the Courts have ruled on cases where people had refused to pay the penalty – and the data shows 60% of those people lived outside of Bexley.

Alongside this enforcement pilot, your Conservative Council has also reinstated the litter collection beats that used to exist as part of this year’s budget.

Manifesto pledge to cut number of Councillors delivered in full.

Your Bexley Conservative Councillors have welcomed the formal passing of legislation in Parliament that will cut the number of Cllrs in the Borough.

Read the legislation here

The pledge to cut the number of Councillors was made in the Bexley Conservatives 2014 local election manifesto, and has now been delivered in full – as has every other manifesto commitment since being elected to run our Council in 2006.

It means from next May there will be 30% fewer Councillors to represent much larger wards.

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The entire process was conducted by the independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England, and all residents and political parties had the opportunity to comment and make suggestions.

This sits alongside the freezing of Councillors allowances that has been in place since 2009, and Bexley’s Councillors are the only group in the UK to propose a reduction in numbers – and to do so voluntarily.

The policy to reduce the number of Councillors was formally agreed at the meeting of the Full Council on 23rd July 2014, with the following motion:

RESOLVED – This Council resolves to call on the Boundary Commission, as the relevant authority, to start the process to review the number of Councillors and the Ward boundaries to allow appropriate representation to best support our residents.

Every Labour Councillor voted against this motion.

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Budget for Bexley’s future agreed – £340million to be invested in local services for local residents.

Bexley residents will see £340million of investment to provide local services for local people during 2017/18.

This follows the decision taken at Budget Council on 1st March to approve the budget plans.

Among the key plans in the Budget are:

  • A new budget line to provide a weekly deep clean for the main town centres, and a monthly deep clean for smaller town centres – until now, none of the Borough’s town centres receive a deep clean at all
  • An additional £135,000 to fund projects to keep our community safe
  • The help and support to ensure 6,000 vulnerable adults can continue to receive the care they need
  • An extra £300,000 for repairing roads and pavements
  • A new budget line to plant and maintain new trees across the Borough – with 200 new trees to be planted during 2017/18
  • Retaining the existing three weekly cleaning cycle for residential roads – scrapping the previous plan to reduce the cleaning schedules
  • Ensure 43,000 children continue to be educated in some of the best rated schools in the country

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Speaking after the debate, the Leader of Bexley’s Conservative Council, Cllr Teresa O’Neill OBE, said:

“This Budget will see £931,000 invested every day to ensure our great Borough of Bexley continues to have a bright future.

Because we have managed our finances properly and implemented the strategy we set out in the 2014 election campaign, we are able to emerge from this difficult time for all local government with our finances on a firm footing.

While other councils continue to cut services, we are now able to put more resources into a wide range of services.

I would like to thank the many residents who have been in touch with colleagues and me to say how much they welcome these new resources which will help make our Borough cleaner and greener.”

Astonishingly, after not being able to come up with a single budget proposal of their own, all Labour Councillors in Bexley opposed the plans.

A spokesperson for Bexley Conservatives said: “We would say to residents who live in wards with Labour Councillors who have voted against plans to clean our Borough more often – hold them to account. They have let you down.

When you see your own road being cleaned every three weeks – remember, the policy of your Labour Councillors is to cut the number of times your road is cleaned to only six times a year.”

 

Who supported a cleaner and greener Bexley – and who didn’t.

On Wednesday, 1st March, your Bexley Councillors made the biggest decision of the year – setting the Budget for 2017/18.

The budget was passed and will see £340million invested in providing local services for local people.

Libraries, cleaning streets, repairing roads, caring for adults and children in need of our help, keeping our community safe, schools, planting trees and many more services will be funded from £931,000 a day, and every household in the Borough receives double back in services than they pay in Council Tax.

After what has been a difficult time for local councils across the UK, Bexley’s Conservative administration has delivered what we promised in 2014 – to deal with the situation calmly and strategically and ensure we emerge from this period in a strong position.

While many Councils up and down the country are still slashing services, in Bexley, we have been praised by residents for getting on with the job.

Our budget proposals this year include a raft of new spending plans, to improve front line services.

Every Councillor’s vote on Wednesday night was “roll-called”, meaning every Councillor had to say whether they were FOR the budget proposals, AGAINST them, or whether they would ABSTAIN.

These are just some of the new key budget proposals put forward by your Conservative Councillors, and a note of how Councillors voted.

Waive burial preparation fees for all persons under 18.

VOTED FOR – ALL CONSERVATIVE COUNCILLORS, ONE UKIP COUNCILLOR

VOTED AGAINST – ALL LABOUR COUNCILLORS, ONE UKIP COUNCILLOR

ABSTAINED – ONE UKIP COUNCILLOR

Provide resources to ensure 6,000 vulnerable adults continue to receive the care they need.

VOTED FOR – ALL CONSERVATIVE COUNCILLORS, ONE UKIP COUNCILLOR

VOTED AGAINST – ALL LABOUR COUNCILLORS, ONE UKIP COUNCILLOR

ABSTAINED – ONE UKIP COUNCILLOR

Introducing a new budget to plant and maintain new trees across the Borough

VOTED FOR – ALL CONSERVATIVE COUNCILLORS, ONE UKIP COUNCILLOR

VOTED AGAINST – ALL LABOUR COUNCILLORS, ONE UKIP COUNCILLOR

ABSTAINED – ONE UKIP COUNCILLOR

Introduce a weekly deep clean for our main town centres for the first time ever

VOTED FOR – ALL CONSERVATIVE COUNCILLORS, ONE UKIP COUNCILLOR

VOTED AGAINST – ALL LABOUR COUNCILLORS, ONE UKIP COUNCILLOR

ABSTAINED – ONE UKIP COUNCILLOR

Increase budget for community safety by £135,000

VOTED FOR – ALL CONSERVATIVE COUNCILLORS, ONE UKIP COUNCILLOR

VOTED AGAINST – ALL LABOUR COUNCILLORS, ONE UKIP COUNCILLOR

ABSTAINED – ONE UKIP COUNCILLOR

Scrap previous plans to reduce cleaning of residential streets

VOTED FOR – ALL CONSERVATIVE COUNCILLORS, ONE UKIP COUNCILLOR

VOTED AGAINST – ALL LABOUR COUNCILLORS, ONE UKIP COUNCILLOR

ABSTAINED – ONE UKIP COUNCILLOR

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Conservatives set out final Bexley Budget proposals for 2017/18 – £340 million to be invested in Bexley’s future

Bexley’s Conservative Councillors have set out their final budget plans for 2017/18 – with an additional £10,000 added to the new budget for trees and a decision to waive the fee for digging a grave for all under 18 year olds.

This follows the announcements made in January to invest over £800,000 to make the Borough cleaner and greener.

This includes ensuring the Borough’s four main town centres will receive a weekly deep clean, instead of none at the moment; more money for cutting grass in parks and on the highway; additional resources for cleaning multi-storey car parks and more resources to keep the Borough safe.

Overall, your Conservative Council will invest £340million on local services for local people during 2017/18 – £931,000 per day.

Cllr Teresa O’Neill OBE, Leader of Bexley’s Conservative Council, said:

“We plan to invest £340million to provide local services for residents in the next year. While other Councils are still struggling to even deliver savings they were supposed to have made by now, our budget is in surplus and we can invest more in core services as a result.

That is what you get with a Conservative Council.”

Commenting, Cllr Peter Craske, Conservative Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Leisure, said:

“The response from residents to our plans for new funds to plant new trees, clean our town centres and put more resources towards keeping our Borough safe has been overwhelmingly positive.

I am pleased to make these additional announcements, and I hope all Members of the Council will vote FOR these plans at the Budget Council meeting on 1st March.”

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Cleaner and Greener! Get ready for an even better Bexley as new Conservative budget proposals unveiled.

Your Bexley Conservative Councillors have published their budget proposals for 2017/18. The proposals will help transform the Borough, making it one of the cleanest and greenest in London.

Under the Conservative proposals, Bexley residents will see:

The four main town centres receiving new weekly deep cleans for the first time ever, with the purchase of a new heavy duty cleaning vehicle – at the moment, town centres do not receive a deep clean at all. Secondary town centres will also have at least a monthly deep clean for the first time as well.

A huge investment in planting and maintaining new trees, with £100,000 being invested over the next two years alone.

An additional £90,000 for cutting grass, verges and hedges across the borough.

More resources for Community Safety and food hygiene.

A new budget line of £83,000 in 2017/18 for cleaning and improving multi-storey car parks, with specific team assigned to those car parks from 18/19 onwards.

The reinstatement of litter collection beats and a “rapid response” litter clearing team.

A new fund of £40,000 to help community organisations wishing to form “Friends of… ” or Community garden groups get started. 

And plans agreed last year to reduce the number of times residential roads are cleaned are not being implemented.

Setting out the new proposals at the Cabinet Meeting on 23rd January, Cllr Peter Craske, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Environment and Leisure, said:

“These proposals will transform the look of our Borough.

The new budget for trees is at a level far higher than any budgets in the past, and the ability to give our key town centres a deep clean on a weekly basis is a level of service we have never been able to offer before.

The extra resources for cutting the grass and hedges across the borough will have a significant impact. My colleagues and I are proud to put forward these plans to ensure Bexley is the cleaner and greener Borough.

However, they can only be implemented if all Councillors vote for them at the Budget Council in March, and I challenge Labour Councillors to confirm they will join with us to vote FOR this budget.”

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The overall budget proposals put forward by the Cabinet will see £300million invested in providing services for Bexley residents, ranging from repairing roads and pavements and collecting waste, to caring for vulnerable adults and children who need help, as well as libraries, parks, leisure centres and schools and all the other services provided by the Conservative Council.

Cllr Teresa O’Neill OBE, Leader of Bexley’s Conservative Council, said:

“Our budget plans will see £300million invested in providing good public services for the residents of this great Borough.

While other Councils are still struggling to balance the books, the fact we are able to start increasing investment in key areas of the Council is testament to the hard work that has been undertaken over recent years.”

The final decisions on the budget will be taken at the Budget Council meeting on Wednesday 1st March, starting at 7.30pm.

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Bexley Conservatives – 2016 in Review

2016 has been another busy year for your Bexley Conservative Councillors and another year where positive action has succeeded in delivering results for residents.

Read our review of the year.

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January

Works to create junction improvements and improved pedestrian access on Northend Road in Erith commenced. It followed support for the project from residents and was able to go ahead after the Council secured money from Boris Johnson, the then Conservative Mayor of London.

A new project, Beat, aimed at helping Bexley residents get active and reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes was launched with a series of health check roadshows across the Borough. The campaign was particularly aimed at people aged 40-70, and those who met the criteria were able to receive a full NHS Health Check.

The Council joined with other partners to press the Government for a commitment to develop Crossrail’s extension from Abbey Wood to Gravesend.

Bexley’s Conservative Council secured £2million of investment for Erith, to enable major improvements to get underway. The funding was signed off by then Conservative Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.

Did you know that your Conservative Councillors have delivered investment to repair 300 miles of roads?

February

The first stage of delivering the Bexley Conservative manifesto commitment to cut the number of Councillors got underway. The Independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England published its initial proposals for new wards and reducing the number of Councillors in the Borough. Bexley’s Conservative Group was elected in 2014 with a clear commitment to reduce the number of Councillors – the only group of Councillors in the UK to voluntarily seek to reduce their number. The proposals seek to cut the number of elected representatives by 30%.

Bexley’s Conservative Cabinet confirmed plans to create a brand new playground in the heart of Belvedere, a facility that would be open all year round, and open to all. The new playground will particularly have features for people with disabilities or special needs. The local Labour Councillors fully back the Conservative scheme.

Did you know that under Bexley Conservatives, 1,673 food premises are monitored for safety and hygiene, so you can eat out with confidence?

March

It was announced that the Conservative Council project to repair the Bexley Village Bridge would be completed a month earlier than initially announced.

Bexley’s Councillors approve the budget for 2016/17 which will see £235million spent on providing services to residents. The meeting where the decision was approved saw Labour Councillors not only vote against investing in public services. It also saw them all argue with each other in public during the meeting, defying calls by their Chief Whip for a roll call vote. The webcast clip of one Labour Councillor turning around and shouting at another one went viral.

Erith had another boost from the Conservatives, after a further £4million of investment was secured.

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Bexley Council Conservatives secured a huge investment for Erith

500 young people attended the Council’s Apprenticeship event.

Did you know your Conservative Council maintains over 20,000 street lights? 

April

Bexley’s brand new Community Libraries started to open. Run by local community groups and organisations, the libraries provide a distinctive service to the communities where they are based. They sit alongside the Council run libraries, and taken together, means, unlike many Councils, this means Bexley has not needed to close any local libraries.

The Full Council meeting focused on a debate on the special needs agenda, highlighting the completion of the Pathfinder project, the success in keeping more children in their local community and recognising the establishment of a specialist autistic school.

The People Overview and Scrutiny Committee examined the ongoing plans for the Queen Mary’s Hospital site, and discussed the redesign of Children’s Services.

  • Did you know that Bexley has been the number one Borough in London for recycling for 12 years?

May

The Annual Council saw Cllr Eileen Pallen elected as the new Mayor of Bexley.

The new bridge through Bexley Village opened two months earlier than planned. The construction of the new bridge – funded by the then Conservative Mayor of London, Boris Johnson – was a significant project, which was complicated by the discovery of a rusted Thames Water main that, if left alone, could have flooded the entire village.

Cllr Gareth Bacon AM was elected as the new Constituency London Assembly Member for Bexley and Bromley, taking over from James Cleverly MP.

Five new units of semi-supported accommodation for people with learning disabilities opened near Danson Park. This £110,000 investment will support people with learning disabilities to live independently, and is being managed by MCCH, a charity that works with people who have learning disabilities, autism or mental health needs.

  • Did you know Bexley’s schools are rated as among the best in the country?

June

Ray Sams was elected to represent St Michaels Ward in a key bey-election.The Conservatives were the only party to run a solely positive campaign, focusing on the issues that mattered to residents, instead of the typical negative campaign run  by the Labour Party – indicative of their ‘Nasty Party’ label. The Labour Councillors had boasted how they were going to “win big” in this election…

The election was held after Cllr Joe Pollard stood down after a decade of public service to take a new job abroad.

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The positive Conservative election campaign was endorsed by voters while those who focused on negative and nasty campaigning were humiliated.

Your Conservative Council began work to manage the number of homes being converted to houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). The Council focused on a range of new controls to take firm control of the issue and ensure that smaller properties that are converted to HMOs provide suitable accommodation and reduce the risk that they create problems for other residents.

  • Bexley has not just the lowest rate of crime in London, but is one of the lowest rates of crime in the entire country.

July

The made up claims by Labour Councillors during the St Michaels bye-election that “tory cuts” would lead to all street lights being switched off at night was proven to be false, as the Conservatives confirmed that all street lights across the Borough would be replaced with new LED bulbs, saving Bexley taxpayers over £300,000.

The Council’s registrar service moved into its new home at Danson House. As well as becoming the venue for the service, it now means people can hold their marriage or civil partnerships at the historic building. The borough’s Citizenship ceremonies are now also held there.

The July Full Council meeting saw a motion agreed in relation to HMOs. Councillors agreed:

  • To adopt a tough stance on all issues relating to HMO’s across the borough, and private rented sector accommodation, and to maximise the use of licensing and enforcement powers to support residents and communities in Bexley.
  • To highlight the information and advice offered to all local residents, and the support given to those seeking social housing.
  • To ensure, subject to compliance with the Council’s adopted planning policy in relation to housing need, that all new developments within the borough are of mixed tenure (including affordable housing), to continue to create thriving and sustainable communities.
  • To continue to lobby Central Government to ensure that the necessary infrastructure is affordable to allow this Council to create the opportunity to build homes that are affordable to local people.

Did you know there are over 19 million individual collections of waste and recycling bins a year in Bexley?

August

It was announced that a new enforcement scheme to crack down on people who chuck litter on the ground, refuse to clear up their dog’s mess or fly tip would commence in October. The announcement was welcomed by residents and businesses across the Borough. Labour Councillors had previously excused those who fly-tipped, blaming society or “tory cuts” or anger about the EU referendum for the reasons people fly tip!

There was national recognition for Bexley’s Trading Standards team after helping a resident who had been the victim of series of scams. The team helped prevent further losses as well as diverting the various letters that were the cause of the scams.

Another year of excellent exam results confirmed Bexley’s schools as among the best in the country.

Did you know that under the Conservatives, Bexley has secured over £200million of external funds to invest in local communities and town centres – this includes an eight million pound investment in Slade Green which the Labour ward Councillors actually voted against!!

September

Bexley’s Shared Lives Scheme was given a positive review by the Care Quality Commission. ‘Bexley Shared Lives’ is a community-based shared lives and supported living service for adults, most of whom have a learning disability. The service recruits, trains and supports carers who provide placements for adults within their own family homes.

Two people were successfully prosecuted for misusing the blue badge scheme, with substantial fines being handed to each defendant. Blue Badges are issued to people with disabilities – in one case a badge was being used even though the lawful owner of the badge had died.

Conservative Councillors presented the final recommendations of the Commercial Waste Sub group – a good example of the work Councillors undertake to see how services can be improved.

Did you know our Road Safety Team’s work has led to Bexley having the lowest road traffic accident rates in London?

October

Council staff are called into action at 3am one Sunday morning, following a water main bursting in Crayford. The local Conservative Councillors join the efforts to make sure vulnerable residents are okay, and the Council team work with the emergency services to close roads to enable to repairs to be made. Instead of offering help, Labour Councillors chose to slag everyone off instead, attacking the Council for a “very poor response”, promoting anger from Crayford residents who had been helped by the Council.

A survey of Bexley residents showed high levels of satisfaction with Council services. This echoes the results of the last survey in 2012, where 90% of residents said they had a high regard for the services the London Borough of Bexley provides.

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The new litter enforcement scheme got underway, and is initially a twelve month pilot scheme. This is a service residents have been requesting be introduced and the Conservative group of Councillors have delivered it. It makes an immediate impact, with fewer amount of litter being needed to be cleared up, as well as seeing penalties issues to people who chuck their mess around the Borough.

More than 100 children, young people, parents and carers walked the red carpet into the Civic Offices Bexleyheath to take part in the Council’s annual ‘Looked After Children’s Education Achievement’ awards, one of the key highlights of the year.

Did you know there are over one million visits to the Borough’s three leisure centres a year?

November

This month was dominated by the implosion of Labour Councillors at the Full Council meeting. While Conservative Councillors focused on issues like improving school standards, repairing roads and keeping our Borough clean, Labour Councillors disrupted the meeting – even trying to shout down a statement that Bexley would never be a place that tolerated racism. This led to several Labour Councillors been barred from speaking, after making offensive comments.

Conservative Councillors just got on with the job, and confirmed plans for a new playground in the heart of Belvedere. The “Belvedere Beach” will be open all year round and open to all, with special features to ensure children with disabilities can use the site.

beachThe building work for the new Lesnes Lodge in Abbey Wood was completed, and the building started to be prepared to be operational. Funded by the Lottery, this is a huge investment in this area of the Borough.

Did you know Bexley has over 30 playgrounds used by young people across the Borough?

December

Bexley is officially confirmed as the Number One Borough in London for recycling – for the 12th year in a row. At the same time it is also confirmed that Bexley residents can eat our safely after the Borough was confirmed as one of the best in London for food safety inspections.

Traders were pleased to see the completion of the improvement scheme in Wilton Road in Abbey Wood. The project supported 13 independent businesses to modernise their business practices and improvement their shop fronts.

The ‘Pom Pom Womblers’ join the army of community litter pickers, and in one weekend, cleared up 46 bags of litter and rubbish.

And that is 2016 – we wish all Bexley residents all the best for 2017.

 

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Bexley Conservatives welcome two Secretaries of State to Erith

The Secretary of State for Defence, the Rt Hon Sir Michael Fallon MP KCB, and the Secretary of State for International Development, the Rt Hon Priti Patel, were guests at a Conservative dinner in the Borough on 23rd November.

The dinner, held in Erith, was attended by Conservative Councillors and activists from across the Borough.

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Conservative Councillors and Members join Michael Fallon and Priti Patel for dinner
The Secretary of State for Defence updated attendees on current political issues, and details on matters relating to his Cabinet post, before joining the Secretary of State for International Development to answer questions from the guests.

Topics covered included the Government’s commitment to spend 2% of GDP on defence and 0.7% of GDP on helping some of the poorest people in the world, the increased investment in the Royal Navy, how the Government would be working with the new Presidents of France and the United States when they took office next year and immigration.

The speakers were welcomed to the event by Anna Firth, the Parliamentary Spokesperson for the Erith and Thamesmead Conservative Association, and thanked by Cllr John Davey, the Chairman of the Association.

Open to all, accessible to all – Belvedere’s Beach is on its way

Residents in Belvedere and across Bexley will soon be able to spend every day on the beach.

This follows the decision by Bexley’s Conservative Councillors to create a brand new playground right at the heart of Belvedere, at the Cabinet meeting held on 15th November.

Due to open next year, the all new Belvedere Beach will operate all year round and will include features tailored for people with disabilities so they can make the most of all the new facility has to offer.

Councillor Peter Craske, the Conservative Cabinet Member who initiated the project, said:

“I am so proud to be able to unveil this new playground.

This will be an innovative and unique landmark facility, which will be open to children of all abilities, excluding no-one. It will be a place for families and friends to meet up and enjoy themselves, open all year round.”

Two of the key features to note in particular include:

  • Sensory features include stainless-steel percussion instruments, low-level water play, select areas of planting, texture from materials (equipment and ground types) and colour coded activities.
  • Stand out play features include accessible roundabout that is suitable for wheelchairs and able-bodied users alike.

 

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The Costa Del Belvedere is on its way
Cllr Craske added: “The positive support from residents in Belvedere for this new facility has been fantastic, and as well as thanking them for their support, I would also like to thank local charities for their ideas and support as well.”

This decision delivers another Bexley Conservative pledge, creating this new playground exactly as promised; and this new facility will complement the playground on the other side of the road, which, contrary to bizarre claims being made, is going to remain exactly where it is – at the heart of the Belvedere community.

Anna Firth, the Conservative Party Parliamentary Spokesperson for Erith and Thamesmead, was praised at the Cabinet meeting for the positive ideas she had put forward for this new playground.