From Mark Voller, Sandown:

Are Sandown’s green, public spaces under attack from those we trust to protect them?

In the week that a much-loved canopy of trees in Los Altos Park was reduced to logs comes news that the 3,000-signature petition calling for the protection of the Brown’s golf course site was deemed ‘inappropriate’ by the Isle of Wight Council.

These issues have aroused strong feelings and are subject to claim and official counter-claim.

In both cases, Sandown residents are left feeling powerless to influence events in our town.

Where health and safety reasons are cited, the voices of those calling to save features of natural beauty are muted (no-one wants to see a person hurt by a falling branch).

The cutting in Los Altos Park looks excessive though, and I wonder what factors the council weighed before deeming it necessary.

Shouldn’t we expect the wishes and overall well-being of park-users to count too, along with loss of beauty and the displaced wildlife?

In both situations the IW Council acted secretively, failing to share their intentions with the public.

Who knows, even now, what is proposed, on our behalf, for the Brown’s site? This needs to change!

These issues have prompted me to stand for election to IW Council in May, as a Liberal Democrat, but I hope people of all political parties, and of none, will join the fight to keep our remaining public spaces green, safe and accessible.