The impact of reductions in local authority budgets on parks
Over many years, spending on parks and open spaces in Ashford has failed to keep up with rising costs. As a result all of the parks and open spaces are much less well maintained than they once were.
Whilst there have been attempts over the years to make improvements to Victoria Park, Watercress Fields and Bowens Field, the changes made often fail to achieve the ambitions of those who planned them because areas affected have fallen into disrepair or become overgrown.
The situation is exacerbated by some members of the public who litter and dump rubbish in parks or cause damage to soft and hard landscaping and furniture. Whilst it is appreciated that there is a cost attached to clearing up after such people, the failure to do so creates an environment in which such behaviour is seen as acceptable and others are likely to follow suit.
Litter is cleared and grass is mowed regularly in Victoria Park but there is a lack of pro-active maintenance and management.
Designated and non-designated open spaces have in recent years suffered from reduced mowing cycles and lack of pro-active maintenance resulting in them looking untidy and rendering them unsuitable for some basic activities, such as ball games, and attracting many complaints.