(news from Cllr Mark Meredith,
written by StokeElected)
Campaigner Philippa Brown has negotiated an agreement
with Stoke-on-Trent City Council officials, ending her almost two week long
occupation of the Central Forest Park snack bar.
The campaign began when the community group of volunteers
Fusion, who maintained the snack bar in Central Forest Park were informed
by the council that from July 2nd, a private company would be running the
snack bar instead.
Miss Brown took direct action in changing the locks and has
been sitting-in at the snack bar for 13 days.
Today, the sit-in at Central Forest Park snack-bar has
been resolved after 13 days of negotiations with high level Council officials.
Following Miss Brown’s petition (highlighting shortfalls in service provision
and questioning the tendering criteria) being presented to full council, local
councillor and cabinet member for economic regeneration Councillor Mark
Meredith helped Miss Brown negotiate with council officials.
As a result, the petition will now go forward to the City Renewal
Overview and Scrutiny committee where the issues will be discussed in
Cllr Mark Meredith will also establish a paper for the cabinet to discuss the
tendering criteria going forward to enable greater community benefit.
A Friends of Forest Park Group will be established where City Council staff and
community groups, including C.A.P.S. (Community and Parks Society) of which
Philippa is a member will be invited to work together and agree plans of action
on park related issues.
The first meeting will take place on Wednesday 13th July,
6:30pm at St Mathews Church Hall, Barthomely Rd, Birches Head.
Miss Brown said: “I am finally satisfied that the community’s voice is
being listened to and that an appropriate system will now be introduced to meet
“I will say that I’m disappointed that I had to take such action in
order to achieve this solution, but after campaigning and being ignored by the
Council, I am heartened that the words “listen and change”are now an
integral part of the Council’s agenda and would like to thank Mark Meredith for
instigating this communication”
Lee Martin, a member of volunteer group Fusion, who ran the snack-bar
successfully for 18months said “As chairman of CAPS which engages and
supports volunteers, I am inspired by the fact that Mark has facilitated a new
era of engagement, encompassing all aspects of a park environment and that the
campaign has proved that the community can play a valid role in enhancing the
quality of services.”
Councillor Mark Mredith told StokeElected: “I’m pleased that the issues
have been resolved without incurring legal costs. The volunteers have set a
precedent that the City Council will be embracing. Now we can move forward
together combining the energies and skills of the community with the resources
available to the City Council. The views and ideas of park-users are an
essential contribution to operational and strategic decisions especially in
these times of Government cut-backs.”