A small play area in Denbeigh Place has been closed. The New Reading Conservative Party (which is a mix of Conservatives and Lib Dems) on the planning committee, voted unanimously to close this community facility despite strong Labour opposition.

They ignored officers' advice to reject the closure and argued that they were supporting the views of local residents who wanted the facility removed. They pointed to the, apparent, prolific anti-social behaviour as an overwhelming reason to remove this public amenity. An RBC report to the committee concluded: "The additional evidence submitted demonstrates that ASB incidents in the play area have been isolated and infrequent."

If Battle councillors had taken the view of the New Reading Conservative Party, Kensington Park, which is in Battle Ward, would no longer be open to the public. The park would have been closed down and surrounded by a 10m high fence with barbed wired on top and patrolled by heavily armed police.

Kensington Park has been subjected to extreme ASB, this has been documented in many newspaper reports. However, instead of calling for the park to be closed, Battle councillors chose to work with local residents, Reading Borough Council, Thames Valley Police and other agencies to solve the problem and keep the park open.

Unlike the New Reading Conservative Party, Battle councillors did not seek to cure an ingrowing toe nail by chopping off the leg.

Shame on the New Reading Conservative Party, no doubt they will be looking for more community facilities to close down.

Cllr Sarah Hacker, Battle Ward