By Councillor David Dean, Merton Council (Conservative, Dundonald ward)

At Wednesday night's full council meeting (11th July), I asked the relevant cabinet member why our parks are in a sorry state, with litter strewn everywhere.

My question was prompted by the Friends of Parks groups around the borough, who are publicly complaining about the mess and the detrimental effect it is having on our green spaces.

Having shot Councillor Judge's goose on funding (when council officers refuted his claims that Government budget cuts were responsible) his next statement was that it is the warm weather that has made the parks even more popular, leading to more litter.

Warm weather? In the last few months?

I didn't know whether to laugh at his preposterous answer or to cry at the ignorance of his statement.

Councillor Judge accused me of living on a different planet.

I do: I live on a rain sodden planet called Earth, where our parks are not full of residents sun-bathing as water lashes down on them.

He lives in a dream world.

His Labour administration cut the parks budget 12 months ago, even though the council had a £15m budget surplus last year and will have another surplus next year.

Mr Judge needs to stop makes excuses, start really caring about our parks, and put back our park keepers and litter collectors so that if the sun ever does shine, residents will be able to enjoy wonderful, clean and green parks once again.

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