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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

I received a letter from Haringey Council this morning stating that they were consulting on renaming Albert Road Recreation Ground to the O. R. Tambo Recreation Ground. 

The letter doesn’t explain what is wrong with the current name. I don’t have particularly strong feelings about the current name or the proposed new name - both seem fine (I note that there is already a nice statue of Oliver Tambo at the entrance to the ground). However, I can’t help but think that this naval gazing is an expensive distraction from more meaningful work that could be undertaken by the council. 

At a time when social services are having their budgets cut and more people than ever are using food banks, is it right that the council spends time and money (both in terms of employee costs and any subsequent costs resulting from changes to maps and signage) on changing the name of a piece of grass? Councils are renown for undertaking projects which waste public funds - there is already another thread discussing the dangerous changes that have been made to the layout of Wightman Road. And this seems like yet another example. 

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Couldn't agree more. This is not the time for these virtue signalling gestures. I'm all for Black heroes being recognised, but it's things like disproportionate exclusion of black children in schools that need to be addressed. 

Another case of Our Elected Ward Councilors, Spending Rate Payers Funds of Minority Budgets 

Accept reason. But in times of Hardship, sure it could have waited to Funds was less under pressure 

For anyone too lazy to read - 

'There is also a proposal to rename the park to reflect the importance of Oliver Tambo
and his work to fight apartheid in South Africa and racism globally.
Oliver Tambo lived in Haringey with his family and were regular visitors to Albert Road
Rec.'

Page 54 of 74!  

We will shortly have available information on our Council's current budget position. Most local councils around the country are likely to be planning severe cuts to balance their budget. This has been known for months.
(https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/jun/23/at-least-8-in-10-en...)

It's despite very substantial help which has come from the Government. More may come. But there will be inevitable pressure from the traditional politicians to keep this as low as possible. For them the only legitimate reason for creating more money is to bail out banks and for wars.

In Haringey I'm told that no figure for total cuts has yet been stated. When it is, I expect it will be many millions. Though possibly reduced by the usual tricks such as setting unachievable income targets. Or pretending that cuts are really "efficiency savings". Or near to firesales of Council land & buildings. Or social cleansing and gentrification to increase the Council Tax take.

William, does the letter you received set out a list of the costs of this change?

Of course I'm not opposed to further honouring Oliver Tambo (and other figures). And it may be that everyone in your street thinks this a great idea. and they would be prepared to see public cash spent on it. But let residents decide on the basis of full facts and accurate figures.

The money can only be spent once. The Government does have a "money tree"; it can print the stuff and let the Bank of England create it. A local Council can't.

The consultation is now live at www.haringey.gov.uk/renaming-albert-rec

Unfortunately, no costing information has been provided.  The consultation also does not explain why the proposed name change ought to take place now - other than stating that the council considers it appropriate in response to the Black Lives Matter movement (although it’s not clear how the re-naming of “Albert Road Recreational Ground” is connected to that movement).

I would much prefer that the council spends its money on tackling the root causes of inequality and social injustice, rather than on projects such as these. I rather worry that this is exactly the type of thing which central government will use to justify slashing local authority budgets further.

Just one further note - if one does chose to respond to the consultation, then one of the mandatory responses is to provide details of one’s ethnicity (there is no opt out or ‘prefer not to say’ option).

It’s unclear why this information is required or to what purpose it will be put in the context of re-naming a recreation ground - but mandatorily requiring respondents to provide such information is almost certainly grounds for the process to be made subject to a review on grounds of procedural impropriety. 

Bottom line is it's a totally unnecessary expenditure that I doubt will have much traction in the local area. Has anyone commissioned a survey of local residents? If they are so keen, they can cough up.

Or let the ANC or SA Government pay for it! 

I wish the council would focus on governing not faffing around with these irrelevant sideshows. 

Can you please ask your neighbours and friends to strongly reject the proposal.

How incredibly Orwellian without any explanation.

I'm not sure how William can accuse Haringey Council of naval gazing in this case as I cannot see what naval connections either Prince Albert or Oliver Tambo could boast of. I agree, however, that this whole project would be a disgraceful waste of pubic funds leading to more bellyaching. Has the Council established any umbilical link between Albert Road and Black Boy Lane? 

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