For over two years – and through lockdown after lockdown – a band of Conisbrough and Denaby volunteers has worked tirelessly to improve our local area for those living here and for visitors.
It was in 2019 that the Friends of the Crags was formed – led by former councillor Tony Sellars – to create a ‘linear country park’ on the site of Conisbrough and Denaby Crags… to clean up an area known for rape and murder and turn it into a public amenity of which to be proud.
In that time, the Friends have been at the root of ALL the Crags initiatives, soliciting help and funding from groups such as Sport England and the local authority.
One of the first things the Friends undertook was a survey, to find out exactly what YOU, the local people would like to see on the Crags site.
Now, it seems, Doncaster Council has caught onto the possibilities of the Crags publicity.
This week the authority put out the leaflet opposite, putting in place its own ‘public consultation’ on the area. Despite over two years of working on Friends’ initiatives for this park, you will see that Doncaster Council now appears to have assumed all control of the project.
Reading the leaflet, the Friends of the Crags have been not so much air-brushed, as spray-painted, out of existence. Indeed the first the leaders of the Friends knew about this leaflet was when it appeared on social media – it turned out many were not on the council’s ‘mailing list’.
Nonetheless, this group is encouraging ALL interested parties to go to these consultation events and share with the authority their hopes and aspirations for the Crags area. This group only wishes to see the area improved and we are bigger than Publicity Politics.
But this instance is a very poor example of how a local authority should engage – as a SERVANT of the local community which ultimately funds it – to bring about change.
We can only hope that it emanated from the lofty reaches of Ros Jones Towers… because the local councillors should be aware of the hours of hard work put in by the Friends of the Crags, who deserve a public accolade (and perhaps a public apology) – rather than this public slighting of THEIR efforts.
Sadly however, this is not the first instance we have heard, of DMBC using local people’s efforts to improve their local community – then piggy-backing those efforts for its own political glory.
And we say to Doncaster Council: “If you’ve only come to the party to steal our cream buns, find yourselves another bash to go to”.
* Representatives of Doncaster Council and Future Parks have since apologised to the Friends of the Crags via Tony Sellars, and vowed to work more closely with the group.