Not critical of market, just posing question about financial priorities

EDITOR – In response to Mr Bridger’s very misleading reply to one of my letters in your newspaper, I did not condemn the Gardeners’ Market in anyway whatsoever.

I was merely pointing out that more emphasis was given to the event than what I regarded as a more important issue, namely our town’s cemetery. The cemetery was not another point, it was the point.

As for deficits, we are surrounded by evidence in our town. In the Mill Road playing field alone a quote was given for the repair of the original skateboard ramp of £900.

Instead, when scrap has been at a premium for years, the town council decided to pay for its removal and install a new one at a cost of £30,000.

The youth shelter, which belonged to the young people of Market Rasen, was grant-funded etc, a £1,500 donation coming from the police towards a cost of £6,500.

Some fire damage occurred, (steel does not burn); again, with scrap at a premium, the shelter was given away.

The company that provided it would have bought it back. They simply shot blast, re-paint and sell it on again.

There is now a picnic bench on the site, so young people can still meet there – but they get wet when it rains.

Evidence is also gained from the town council’s accounts, which Mr Bridger rightly points out “are there to be seen”. They have to be.

The cost of removing contaminated soil from Mill Road playing field was £63,455 and not around £68,000.

If this is not a ludicrous deficit then what on earth is? Mr Bridger’s report on the contamination was extremely misleading.

The soil was not merely “brought onto” the playing field, as the town council manages the land. There is even some kind of playing fields group or sub committee.

The dirt jumps was their project together with some young people of the town. In fact at last year’s annual town meeting Mr Bridger commented on how well the project was coming along and that he couldn’t wait to have a go himself.

Stating that “eight small pieces of bonded asbestos” were found in 300 tons of soil is extremely misleading.

In reality, all the soil was contaminated with bricks, glass, steel, plastics, bale band and various other pieces of unwanted items.

In fact it was as if an old building and its contents had been demolished, an amount of soil added, transported and dumped on Mill Road Field.

The contamination was more than obvious to any observer. Obviously 300 tons is 30x10 ton loads or 15x20 ton loads or whatever. Was nobody there to supervise what was being dumped on a children’s play area? Why was it allowed to continue? Does nobody know where it came from?

When I asked Mr Bridger at the last town council meeting (6-7-2011) about the ‘other’ contamination he stated “they were going to use the bricks as a base” and also “we were going to sieve the rest”.

Some operation that would have been, sieving 300 tons of waste! Why didn’t ‘they’ simply ask if ‘they’ could have used the massive piles of clean top soil that have been on the primary school field, next to the Mill Road site, for years?

Imagine what £63,455 could have been spent on, certainly a brilliant display of Christmas lights and all fittings could have been purchased.

At the meeting Mr Bridger stated “we only had three days to sort this out”, yet the contaminated mass was at first fenced off with some orange plastic netting and later with some more secure weldmesh steel fencing, for weeks, for all to see!

I asked if the removal was put out for tender; the reply was “yes”. Therefore an awful lot was done in three days.

The maintenance of the town green, an obligation of the developers that was taken over by the town council, cost £1,011.

The Festival Hall net expenditure was £4,515. The Market Place projects net expenditure was £4,032. ‘Other costs’ net expenditure (whatever they may have been ) was £9,179.

Net expenditure is the amount the town council has to contribute as the project did not cover the cost. What other ‘evidence’ does Mr Bridger require?

I’m glad that Mr Bridger, regarding the local cemetery, pointed out that “the shortfall in the running costs will fall on the people of Market Rasen”.

This would be a minimal amount per head of all parishioners. Under town council management, however, it would appear that to be buried in your home town will cost you loads more.

I also think that it is extremely sad that what Mr Bridger has pointed out to us is that, for example, if you have lived on Walesby Road, Market Rasen, or parts of Lady Francis Drive or Caistor Road (beyond Gallamore Lane) etc all your life, it will be less costly to get buried in Middle Rasen.

Maybe our town council could do something about this.

Archie Farrow

Market Rasen