Over 100 local residents packed into the Riverside Youth Centre on Monday evening (16 April) to protest against Conservative plans to scale back youth services and, in the words of one resident, “degrade London Road” by removing planters and trees installed by the last Lib Dem administration.
Addressing the meeting, Walcot Councillor Richard Samuel called for extra time to be found to plan the changes to the youth service properly and for the London Road planters to be kept where they are.
Councillor Samuel said:
“It is clear the Conservatives’ plans for Riverside, and the youth service as a whole, do not stack up. These proposals should be put on ice, before further damage is caused, and to allow time for options to be fully explored.
“I believe the Riverside building should be handed over to the community in an asset transfer, to prevent it being sold and the site redeveloped.
“I am disappointed that residents have still been given no adequate assurances from the Conservatives about the future of the London Road planters. We are told that options are still being considered.
“The planters were installed with huge community input only 4 years ago. Without any proper community consultation, the Conservatives now propose to remove them at great cost and for no good reason.
“The argument that they are a safety risk is baseless; I have discovered that there have only been six accidents in the past three years along that section of road and none were associated with visibility around the planters.
“I am calling for the planters to remain where they are and for the trees to be replaced.”
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