I’m thrilled to share my reflections on the recent developments surrounding the pump track project in Battenhall, following last night’s Policy and Economic Development Committee meeting. As a representative of the Liberal Democrats, it was a pivotal moment for me to advocate for a more inclusive and community-oriented approach to decision-making.
First and foremost, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to both the Labour and Conservative groups for their unanimous support with the amendment that sought to make progress on this. The cross-party collaboration demonstrated during the committee meeting was truly inspiring and reinforced the importance of putting community interests above party lines.
I also want to express my appreciation for the bravery displayed by Green councillors Hanna Cooper and Katie Collier. In the face of party tensions, Hanna and Katie stood firm on their convictions, demonstrating a commitment to the youth they represent.
Additionally, I want to take a moment to acknowledge and thank colleagues who opposed the motion. I understand the challenges of being in the firing line of resident anger, and I respect the decisions made by those who had reservations. It’s crucial for us, as a council, to collectively address the genuine concerns of residents and work towards a solution that benefits the entire community.
While progress has been made, it’s essential to note that the decisions in the committee still need approval at the full council meeting. The road ahead is promising, and I am committed to navigating it with diligence and sensitivity to the concerns of our residents.
The consultation process, as it stands, has faced its fair share of challenges. The online survey, in my view, proved to be an inappropriate tool for such a contentious topic like the pump track. I attributed no weight to the survey data, considering it not representative, easy to manipulate, and overall unsuitable for capturing the nuanced views of our community.
Instead, I focused on the identified needs in the play plan and relied on my discretion as an elected presentative, coupled with the voices of those around me. It became clear that the residents’ concerns needed a more nuanced and thorough approach. While the progress achieved in the committee is commendable, I firmly believe that officers need to engage more extensively with residents to find a compromise that effectively addresses their concerns.
Advocating for young people is a personal commitment for me. It goes beyond political ideologies; it’s about creating spaces and initiatives that contribute positively to the development and well-being of our youth. The pump track project in Battenhall presents an opportunity to achieve just that.
Almost three years after the pump track was first proposed, I couldn’t help but worry that postponing the decision until after the election might well kill the idea in an area where there is a considerable need. Time is of the essence, and our community deserves initiatives that address their needs promptly.
As we move forward, I encourage officers and fellow councillors to engage in a more robust dialogue with residents. Finding a compromise that addresses concerns and reflects the diverse perspectives of our community is crucial. While progress has been made, the journey to a mutually agreeable solution requires continued collaboration, open communication, and a genuine commitment to the well-being of Battenhall.
I look forward to the continued collaboration and dialogue that will shape the future of our community.
Councillor Jessie Jagger
Watch the highlights of the debate right here: