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Ex-Carlisle mayor boycotts Civic Centre 'party' in play park protest

A former Carlisle mayor who once abseiled down the Civic Centre is boycotting its 50th anniversary celebrations.

John Metcalfe photo
John Metcalfe

John Metcalfe is refusing to take part in Carlisle City Council’s ‘party’ on Monday in protest at the removal of play equipment.

Mr Metcalfe, who served as the city’s Labour mayor in the 1990s, claims that spending money on the anniversary is “unjustifiable” at a time when play areas are being stripped bare.

But council leader Colin Glover insists the only money being spent is for an officer to take people round the Civic Centre on tours on Monday.

Mr Metcalfe, who became the first mayor in Britain to walk down the outside of his own council building when he abseiled 130ft from the Civic Centre in 1997, claims he has turned down an invite to the party in opposition at the decision.

He said: “It beggars belief that at a time when the bulldozers are tearing down our play areas, the city council is planning a party to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Civic Centre.

“As a former mayor, I’ve declined an invitation to a civic party to celebrate the building of the Civic Centre when the city’s children are having their play equipment removed by the same council.

“It seems that austerity and cuts are only being implemented to those most in need in our city.

“I don’t know how much the cost of a celebration in honour of the Civic Centre will be, but how can a council justify any such expenditure when they seem only keen to rip up our play areas?”

Mr Glover hit back, accusing Mr Metcalfe, a member of the Communist Party of Britain, of trying to “make a cheap political point”.

He said: “There is no party and Mr Metcalfe knows it.

“To mark the 50th anniversary the council has invited members of the public to take tours of the Civic Centre and see parts of the building that they would not normally see including the mayoral civic suite.

“There is no cost to that other than officer time to take people round and so far 180 members of the public have booked onto the tours.

“Once the building has closed for business for the day, the mayor of Carlisle has invited some guests to attend a short reception to mark the official anniversary of the opening of the Civic Centre. I am extremely disappointed that Mr Metcalfe, as a former mayor of Carlisle, should show so much disrespect to our current mayor and First Citizen just to make a cheap political point.”

Have your say

The cost of this reception to date is exactly forty seven thousand pounds. I know,because I saw the first phase of invoices awaiting payment,whilst I was in the accounts office.

Posted by Insider on 19 March 2014 at 16:21

A crazy decision to rip up childrens play areas.will be evident come local elections.

Posted by Tom Crotty on 11 March 2014 at 14:32

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