IAN HART: Should council provide more for the youngsters?

Ian Hart
Ian Hart

With my kids now 25 and 22, school holidays are a dim and distant memory.

But the recent inclement weather certainly prompted a degree of sympathy for all the local parents of younger children.

It got me thinking about what we did during the holidays for entertainment locally, back in the day.

We had two cinemas, The Odeon and The Dome, showing at least four different films at any one time.

Both the Pier and Connaught Leisure were more video-game based than the predominantly penny-machine gambling establishments they are now.

Brooklands not only had the boating lake, train, go karts, and pitch and putt, but also a fully operational – and, I seem to recall, very popular – playground.

The same can be said for Peter Pans playground, the Aquarena, the outside paddling pool and another boating lake behind the swimming pool.

In short, plenty to do in the 1970s and early ‘80s – but what about now?

Nowadays, what attractions are left are very rarely free and in most cases, having spoken to a number of parents of school-age children, are certainly not cheap.

But morally, in a town with a wide demographic of parents across the income spectrum, should the council have a duty to provide free or inexpensive amenities and attractions for the local youngsters?

I know I can sometimes fall into the trap of looking back through rose-tinted spectacles but, as kids, my generation and the ones directly before and after certainly had it good locally when it came to holiday time, and a vibrant, happy town certainly made for a better local environment.

I know we can probably never get back to the kind of array of attractions and amenities I’ve listed, but I think the council could perhaps do a little bit more in that department.

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