The Citizen on Kingsway

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

Has anyone else noticed whenever Kingsway is in the Citizen, its always referred to as “Kingsway estate” and not as Kingsway Village? Also any story a little bit negative they usually go along with “troubled estate” etc.

Is it any wonder why the area seems to have gained a reputation? As for this reputation, I personally haven’t really noticed anything out of the ordinary in the village. The way some people talk ill of the place now you would think its South Central or something.

Todays Citizen ‘sfront page said “Drugs swoop on city estate”. Doesn’t exactly make the place sound very welcoming! I realise they have to print negative as well as positive stories but it was for minor drugs offences in two properties which I feel for other areas would not have been on the front page. The headline was very sensationalised.

The other day they also printed several extremely negative internet posts about Kingsway, such as “it’s a good thing all the dole scroungers are going there, keep them all in one area”. Most of the stuff printed was factually wrong but they put them in anyway. I am not a dole scrounger thanks and I bet the vast, vast majority of residents in the area aren’t either. Without wanting to sound like a snob, I doubt many “dole scroungers” could afford nice new Mercedes’, BMW’s, Range Rovers etc like many in Kingsway have.

Do people really think of Kingsway like this? I’ve lived here for 2 years, have not known of any burglarys in my road or attempted break-ins etc. All my neighbours are pleasant, resepectful and keep their gardens tidy. I know not every household will have the same sense of pride but this will be in the minority and you’ll get the same everywhere.

I go jogging round Kingsway somtimes late at night (9/10pm) and the only people I tend to see are other people doing the same or people walking their dogs. Occasionally I see a few teenagers wandering about but have never had any problems. To put it into context, I used to live in Abbeymead – a so called “nice area”. I would never go running alone round there as there were always large gangs of 16/17 year olds hanging around, always problems with them outside the Tesco and the pubs getting into bother fighting and drinking. I lived in Longlevens before that and my house was broken into twice, my next door neighbours 3 times (and their dogs attacked in one incident). Several cars were stolen in my road, and I lived in Greyhound Gardens. Again another so called nice area.

Sorry for the rant but I cannot believe how quickly the village’s reputation has been tarnished with little evidence. Every area will have problems, however to say Kingsway is a “troubled estate” when compared to many other areas in Gloucester is ridiculous.


11 Responses to “The Citizen on Kingsway”

    Cllr Julian Powell
    October 31, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    In a very short time, Kingsway went from a nearly all privately owned community, to roughly 50:50 private: social housing community. Obviously there are good and bad in all communities, both private and public, but the lack of co-ordination between the housing associations is questionable. They are duty bound to control their properties and, in a very small number of specific locations, failed to do so. They found weasel words to try to wriggle out from scrutiny.

    The overall situation will self correct as more privately owned / occupied houses are completed, and as more shared ownerships are occupied. Also, it now looks like some of the transfers of whole cul-de-sacs to social housing are actually going to be used by families moving to Gloucestershire to work at the new NATO base. That will significantly affect the character of Kingsway.

    The Citizen has been a cut and paste publication for a long time now. It simply regurgitates press releases put out by the councils and the like, merely top and tailing text put out by somebody else.

    Where there is, infrequent, original content, it often misses the real story, the thing of most importance, in favour of a short piece of work that can be summed up with a sensationalist headline. The trouble with disparaging terms used for emotive effect by lazy journalists is that they sit in the public conscientiousness for a long time. Fairly or unfairly. There is no effective right of correction when the paper gets its story woefully wrong.

    The Kingsway Village teething problems were brought about by an imbalance in the community mix. The developers took a quick fix short term solution to a cash flow problem, at about the same time as GHA got most of its tenants moved in. The City Council was complicit in the breaking of the planning brief for the area, and had to find weasel words to justify its position.

    The City Councillors just don’t give a toss; they are sitting on very safe seats, and can afford to ignore the electorate. You just cannot trust that the City will do what it says. You watch, come next spring putting right problems will be top of the agenda, come next July it will be bottom. The Parish Council has tried to influence the situation, but realistically is too small, lacking in power, and under resourced to achieve anything without the support of the City and County Councils.

    All I can suggest is, if you want things to change, keep up the pressure by lobbying the developers, and if you can’t find the jewel go to the crown. Lobby the housing associations. Lobby the Councillors; you might be able to get something done if they think they are going to lose their seat. And only ever say positive things to the papers.

    “Is the estate full of problem families, or is it just a typical middle England housing development?

    “Are any issues just teething problems, or will the estate get worse as time goes on?”

    Firstly, what a biased report that is!! Thanks! Not one bit of a compliment anywhere in that!!

    Full of problem families? Erm, please explain where this information has come from and how you can make that assumption?

    Drugs raids? 2 houses in Kingsway with cannabis last week, hardly makes it Colombia does is it. I noticed Cheltenham college had pupils suspended today after drugs raids, does that mean it’s a “troubled college” now?

    Not one bit of that report is backed up with any evidence, it even starts off with “tales of”. Proves everything. The Citizen has a responsibility to report on actual facts and events and not chinese whispers.

    As a sidenote, I’ve also just noticed that the original link to this on the home page has reputation spelt without a p!!

    Hi chrisw,

    I agree… It certainly does seem that somebody is intent on rubbishing the area.
    Whether the responsibility lies with The Citizen or their source(s) is difficult to say; from other communications I’ve received (telephone calls) it does appear that there are many (untrue) rumours which are so well-subscribed that they have become “gospel”!

    Neighbours,

    It is gratifying to see so many Kingsway residents getting involved in trying to set the record straight, although a quick survey of 20 neighbours by a lady in Chivenor Way revealed that none of them read The Citizen or were aware of the article(s) and yet most of them had heard the same (unture) rumours which are rife on the “Chinese whispers network”, and assumed that they were true!

    Baz_k has spoken to Mr Thomas and suggested that the forthcoming Residents Association Meeting might not be the best opportunity for him to get his feedback, as we will be busy discussing the future of the RA and I do agree with him. On the other hand, the meeting would be a good opportunity for us to discuss the best way to make a “consolidated approach” to The Citizen, thus enabling us to present a united front and thus to get the best possible response.

    Several people have offered to help to publicise both the existence of this website and the forthcoming meeting, in order to try to encourage enough supporters to attend and to discuss the best way to help to set the record straight.

    Sadly I cannot afford to pay for advertising and – with my wife in hospital and 2 kids to look after (plus a hospital appointment for myself early next week) – I won’t have the time to do much to help drum up support this time… So I guess I’m appealing to anyone and everyone to try to spread the word and get some supporters to give up an hour or so on Friday 23rd (8pm) to attend the meeting and see if we can discuss the best way to give Mr Thomas some consolidated and positive feedback.

    I’ve just seen the artcle on this is Gloucestershire, an awful photo of one of the worst parts, constantly referred to as “estate” and not village and “talk of drugs raids” mentioned-again very much sensationlised when you look at the facts. I am starting to think there is almost an agenda here. Sorry but reading that just reaffirmed my original gripe as far as I’m concerned.

    Hi David,

    I have been contacted by several local residents and have also spoken to the Mrs Needham (Kingsway School Head Teacher), all of them are keen to contribute opinions to “the cause”.

    I’m quite sure that you would be most welcome to attend the Residents Association meeting and I am also considering inviting you to come along and meet with a group of local residents to allow us to give our opinions and to quash some of the more outlandish rumours which are upsetting us all.

    I will contact you in the very near future to discuss it further.

    Thanks again for your attention.

    Hello all,

    With the response we have had to the debate on Kingsway on our website, we will definitely be doing something to try and put a different view of Kingsway across in the paper soon, so please call or email me on the contacts above if you want to have your say on the subject.

    I would be delighted to come along to the meeting – even if there are only a few people there, it will still let me meet real residents of Kingsway.

    Regards,

    David Thomas

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for that… I will pop along and leave a comment.


    Hi David,

    Thank you very much for the contact… (That definitely qualifies as “making an effort to publish a balanced view”) :mrgreen:

    If we can get some positive press coverage I’ll (happily) take back my remarks above 🙂


    Folks,

    This could be a great opportunity to “redress the balance”. I’m wondering whether we should all contact David individually, or whether perhaps a combined effort might have more effect.

    I’m tempted to suggest that we invite him to attend the forthcoming Residents Association Resurrection Meeting but am also concerned that – if we do – a poor turnout may do us more harm than good!
    Perhaps we should invite David to meet a group of local representatives interested in giving some positive feedback about the area.

    I’m very interested to hear your views on this, so I will delay contacting him until I have some more feedback… Please let me know what you think.

    Hi All,

    It seems that the Citizen may be reading as there is now a “Have Your Say” on the village here

    Perhaps we should be encouraging visitors to the site and residents to contribute.

    Cheers

    Paul

    Hello all,

    My name is David Thomas and I report on Kingsway for The Citizen.

    I understand what you are saying, and would like to discuss the issue further with a view to generating a few more positive stories from Kingsway.

    Please email me at david.thomas@glosmedia.co.uk, or call me on 01452 420 626.

    Regards,

    David Thomas

    Hi chrisw,

    Thanks for the post… I couldn’t agree more. It’s no huge suprise that they are more interested in sensationalising rumours than reporting ther truth, but you’d think they would make some sort of an effort to publish a balanced view 🙄

    Baz_k,

    Yep… I agree.

    I have to say (and have said a number of times) I totally agree,

    What I do like to see now is a lot of people commenting on the Citizen website to the same effect. If we all did it it might change the perception!

    I think there are small pockets of issues which if we could get those sorted then there would be no issues at all. Except with the builders and QUVL that is!

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