Paul’s Campaign Diary

In Praise of Parklife

A park is a perfect metaphor for my kind of socialism. Our parks are open to all, irrespective of identity, wealth, or status. It’s a place where people can enjoy nature, especially with pollinator-friendly planting. We can exercise our dogs and ourselves. We can bring our children to swing on swings and go round about roundabouts.

The park is one of the last redoubts of the community cafe, withstanding the onslaught of Costa and Starbucks. The Tennis Cafe in Gildredge Park in Eastbourne, for example, is a fantastic community meeting place and does some fantastic cake.

And very few could  ever afford that much land for our personal use – so we club together through our taxes to create something we hold in common, for everyone to enjoy. Picnickers. Footballers. Dog walkers. Park runners. Those tai chi dudes. Everyone.

Cuts to local authorities and to the police over the past ten years present a real danger to parks across Sussex. I am sad to see graffiti in Gildredge Park. We have lost the park keepers who used to live in homes nearby. The police seldom patrol parks anymore. Vandals destroy benches, public toilets and even burn down children’s play equipment.

As your Police and Crime Commissioner, I will work with local authorities, the community ‘Friends of…’ organisations, neighbourhood wardens, and Sussex Police to reclaim our parks. I will ensure that regular foot patrols by neighbourhood police teams include our parks on their beat. Parks belong to us all. All of us must be free to enjoy them, free from fear.