I was greatly saddened to read about the proposed closure of the Wexham Nursery site (Slough Express, 5 February 2011).
Until recently The SEEDS Trust rented a site there to provide training for youth offenders, in cooperation with Slough Youth Offending Team, but budgetary cuts ended this valuable partnership and SEEDS ability to rent the site for other purposes.
This was just one of the ways in which the site served as a resource for the benefit of local vulnerable individuals, the main one being the horticultural work by Speedwell Enterprises with learning-disabled adults. Another group had started to develop a facility to provide 'green therapy' for psychiatric outpatients in the area but this will close before it has even begun.
Yet again we see the cuts in public funding impacting on those most in need of community support.
Slough Borough Council says that the site loses £110,000 per annum, but this is a tiny sum in the total budget.
Many of us feel that with enterprise and drive it would be easy to generate far more income from the site. The restricted opening hours (closed after 4 p.m. during the week, for most of the weekend and all Bank Holidays) deter the general public from visits to buy plants and other items. Slough is desperately short of allotment space and space was available at Wexham, but no attempt has been made to pursue this possibility, presumably because allotment holders would need evenings in the summer and weekends to tend their plots. The huge car park on the site (constructed to what purpose?) is normally empty, yet the streets around are cluttered with hospital parking. Another lost opportunity.
There have always been pressures within the Council to sell the site for housing and the suspicion must be that this is the main motivation for this ill-judged decision to close it.
So one more valuable green space for community use will vanish for commercial concerns.
Some two years ago, Slough Times reporters read Slough Borough Council documents advocating the removal of the Wexham Nursey, from its site in Wexham Road near the junction at Church Lane, to Lascelles Playing Field on the corner of Lascelles Road and Upton Court Road. Unelected and unaccountable council officials - none living in Slough and none having any genuine affinitity with the residents of Slough - wanted, some two years ago, to sell the Wexham Nursery site for private housing.