Let’s use our parks – and keep up the investment

Clive Smith says he would not like to arm wrestle athlete Caster Semenya 		Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

CLIVE SMITH: English pigs? Don’t bite the hand that feeds you

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It’s normally the assurance for March, of course, but April is certainly going out like a lamb. We’ve been blessed with glorious weather of late and long may that continue (well, through the Easter weekend at least!)

As we report today, families have been taking full advantage of the sunny school holidays, with people flocking not only to the beaches but also to the parks around the area.

It’s a reminder that, for all the urban sprawl, we are fortunate to have fine open spaces in each of our communities, and we would take this opportunity to thank those employed in helping Mother Nature show her full beauty.

Once more the floral displays planted by council workmen around the area have bloomed in all their glory, adding to the displays in private gardens and to community efforts like the host of golden daffodils that once more have sprung up around Bedhampton.

We imagine that our parks are free but, of course, although there are no admission charges, we pay for them through our council tax.

This year, they are perhaps more vulnerable than ever before to financial constraints and cutbacks.

Our council gardeners are experts at pruning, but pruning of a different kind can be all too tempting as councillors and officers get to the parks and leisure department in any cost-cutting sweep through various council department.

We would say again that we recognise that savings have to be made, but would urge authorities to do all they can to safeguard spending on the open areas that people enjoy so much.

This is perhaps particularly important in densely-pack Portsmouth, where most people do not have a large garden of their own.

In effect, parks are a communal back garden for all residents to enjoy.

And if the watchword is ‘use it or lose it’ we hope that the sun continues to shine over Easter and that families take full advantage of the many public places around the area where bags of fun, exercise and relaxation are available at no charge at all.