Medway Labour and Co-operative Group Councillors are successfully pressuring the Council into making improvements to the Strood Esplanade, but more work still needs to be done to overcome the Council’s dereliction of duty towards the site.
The Esplanade has been a focal point of Strood for more than a century, but following its reopening during the summer, the Council has come under fire for its mishandling of the site, which had seen the former idyllic photography spot turn into an ugly embarrassment.
Cllr Zoe Van Dyke, representative for Strood North, said:
“Like most Strood residents, we were initially glad when we found out that site would be reopening.
“However, we were shocked when we visited the site to find that while the river walk may have been opened, there had been a total lack of attention to detail to make the area presentable. This only goes to show a lack of civic pride on behalf of the Council by failing to adequately maintain the presentation of a key location in our community.”
Cllr Stephen Hubbard, representative for Strood North, added:
“Upon the reopening, the hideous development hoardings were unfortunately still in place by the former Civic Centre site, creating a barrier between the road and the green space. The grassed area and pathway had clearly not been cleaned and the grass had not been mowed. The litter bin that had been on the site was missing, not reinstalled. The bench neatly hidden from view by hoardings was surrounded by litter, some of which was associated with drug taking.
“We asked the council’s contractor Medway Norse to rectify these issues, only to discover they were acting on orders of the Council in not solving this problem. Such low standards for the green spaces of our area are a sad reflection on the mismanagement of our current Council.
“Labour Councillors asked the Council’s regeneration team to arrange the removal of the hoardings both by the Esplanade’s grassed space and along the length of the Esplanade pavement. The hoardings at this second point results in pedestrians having to walk in the road.
“We are pleased to report that our pressure resulted in the removal of the hoardings by the green space, but are still unhappy that the ugly wire fence panels and concrete blocks still remain, and that nothing has been done to remove the hoardings on the Esplanade pavement. We will continue fighting for the residents of Strood on this issue.”