The Spinney

Meet to discuss drugs policy. Clearly the Government’s prohibition strategy isn’t working – indeed it could be argued somewhat well that prohibition (much like drink in the most famous prohibition of them all) is making it worse in some ways. Addiction is flourishing in many places and the countries where the raw materials are grown have often seen drugs become industries that dominate and ruin large parts of those very countries. Much to be thought about.

In afternoon I visit The Spinney. The Spinney is just that – a little wooded spinney that adjoins on one side Rhodes Avenue Primary School and on the other Alexandra Recreation Ground. The school has got six months use of The Spinney. To date it has been a dumping ground and little used – but local volunteers have helped clear it up, the school has laid a nature trail and when I visited classes were busy studying nature for real. Absolutely fabulous. The Council have said in principle they are happy for the school to have some use of it in future – but that they will not be responsible for cleaning, health and safety or opening and locking the gates. And the local community also – understandably – wants to have access to the site too.

So – could I help? Well, after the meeting I spoke with my colleague Wayne Hoban (one of the Lib Dem councillors representing the area) about setting in motion a meeting of the key local interest groups – school, community, Friends of the Park and the Council to see where the land lies. You can perhaps see a solution where the children from the school have exclusive access during the school hours – but outside of school hours on a weekday, on weekends and during the holidays it is available for everyone. But would that be acceptable to all parties? And how would the practicalities of maintenance, care and safety be addressed? None of this insurmountable – and I have to say – it is a little magical space that would be wonderful for the Rhodes Avenue children and the local community to enjoy!