The play areas have some equipment in, which was put in position two weeks or so ago, but (still) have security fencing around them.
The demolished cottage (still) has not been fenced off or made safe by the removal of rubble.
The road surface (still) has a sudden and damaging ramp on the only vehicular route onto and off the estate.
The kerb stones have been lowered, but it's taken over a week now and the pavement is (still) not finished and the fencing (still) forces people to take to the road.
The children will now be walking home in the dark. We have been asking for changes to be made (perhaps too politely) since Oakdale Links was set up six months ago. We predicted that winter would be dark. We are not qualified to predict this, but it is something that has happened every year since I was born.
To either side of the broken and glass-strewn pathway, there is open land with hedgerows. In the day time, this is one of the more pleasant aspects of living on Oakdale. By night, for women particularly, it takes on a shift in perception. We have a neighbour who did not recognise someone who was walking down towards the blinding lights of the Foundry along a pitch-black path. She looked over her shoulder and started running as fast as she could, pushing her young child in a buggy. She was obviously frightened. As a mum on her own, she has no choice though, if she wants to go out at all after dark.
We are trapped here.
We have just celebrated the new town lights being turned on and it's the beginning of the Advent season leading up to Christmas, which is the start of the year in the Church of England. Lovely as they are, when you drive or walk or cycle under the colourful lights on the high street, spare a thought for us here.
I have heard one town councillor suggest that as we chose to live here, we should put up with the consequences. He was talking about the school run to distant schools, but it goes for the rest of the problems of this development as well. For the record, all of us in rented or shared ownership homes have a local connection. Even if we didn't, is this a humane way to run the town? Have all the financial benefits coming from a development and then leave the people stranded in the dark throughout the winter? Walking or cycling off the development at night are not an option to me.
Who is responsible? We have talked to GC Highways. We have talked to the developers. We have talked to the District Council, the County Council and the Town Council. We haven't said much up until now, because we want people to come and live here, but really, as a residents' association, it's time to face facts. No one will help unless we highlight these issues.
I think we should hold a candle-lit vigil and a protest walk through the town if nothing changes. Let me know, Oakdale, if you agree and would like to reclaim the night.