Trafalgar Rd/Eastney St Bus Stop

I remember when they first created this little area. Presumably it was created with Section 106 regeneration money (correct me if I’m wrong) and for corporate decor, it wasn’t bad. A little paving and landscaping, with low walls and simple shrubs, a couple of not-badly-at-all designed benches, which actually managed to combine vandal-proofing with a modicum of comfort and a row of rather odd concrete balls. It was finished off with little blue lights set in the pavement, which made this simple, once-neglected area look a little more loved.

But, just a few years later, it seems to have reverted to type. The benches are still pretty good and nothing’s going to happen to a row of concrete balls. But the shrubs are choked with brambles and not one of those pretty blue lights glows any more – in fact if you look at them they seem to be full of condensation.

I don’t get why, when money is put aside for these projects, a little isn’t earmarked for their upkeep. This happens time and time again – something nice is created, but once the bigwigs have had their pictures taken opening the things, these little features might as well go whistle.

At worst it’s millions of wasted cash (a friend of mine was in charge of a young people’s music centre – in another borough, admittedly, but while millions was spent of building a state-of-the-art venue and equipping it with grand pianos, studio and recording equipment, not a penny was kept for actually running the place – after it was officially opened, it NEVER properly opened its doors to the public) at best its a few grand – if only they’d set aside a few quid to look after the Rathmore Benches once they were done, we wouldn’t have a modern monument at risk – and in the case of this unassuming little area all it would have taken was an hour or so of the borough gardeners’ time and a few light bulbs.

Maybe these 106 arrangements need to be amended to set up ‘trust funds’ to run the projects created – to finish what they start. After all nothing looks more neglected than something that was once a statement…

What do you think, folks?

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