I have been walking past a puddle in Highbury Fields, our local park, for weeks now, presuming that someone was dealing with the mains leak that was creating it. Apparently, it has been at the centre of a major local controversy as no one was dealing with it until a local pensioner had to ask Mayor Boris Johnson to intervene and get Thames Water to fix it!
What it also highlights, however, is the major problem with drainage in Highbury Fields. For months during the winter, because drains are blocked, rain transforms the upper end of the beautiful park into a Western Front battlefield, making half the muddy park completely unusable for local taxpayers.
I remember going along to a community meeting held to discuss the future re-design of Highbury Fields and there were several highly-paid landscaping consultants hired by the council who promised us all wonderful things that we didn’t need, like ‘desire lines’ pathways and conservation eco-gardens. When I mentioned the major problem of drainage in the Fields, it seemed as though everyone had gone deaf in the room and they quickly passed on.
Now, two years or so later, for all this money spent on re-designing the Fields, all we appear to have is wonderful new signage telling us what they hope to do with the Fields and asking us all to be involved, but the park still has a major drainage problem. What is it with these tax-payer funded consultants that they don’t wish to get their hands dirty solving real problems but prefer to spend our money telling us what they are doing with signs and consultation leaflets? Oh, for a 19th century engineer to make a real difference to our park…