In the Hull Daily Mail yesterday Yorkshire Water’s Matt Thompson was quoted as saying:
“We are keenly aware that we have had to rely on the patience and understanding of local residents for a number of years on this matter. We have therefore agreed, as a gesture of goodwill to the local community, to create a community fund to help support local projects that benefit the Hedon and Preston neighbourhood. We hope it will be administered by a community liaison panel made up of councillors and local community groups.”
The idea of a ‘Community Chest’ was first mooted by Councillor John Dennis last year. On the 5th August 2011, he and fellow ward Councillor Mike Bryan met with Yorkshire Water about the offensive smells (Councillor Ann Suggit was away at the time). Councillor Dennis commented about the meeting on the Hedon Blog:
“As arranged at that first meeting, I will be holding discussions with YW’s head of communications in the expectation of securing some form of compensation package for the local community. It would surely not be unreasonable for us to expect them to come up with a positive, tangible gesture to show how sorry they really are!”
And yesterday he commented on the latest news: “I had suggested some form of Community Chest into which local communities might be able to dip for valid local projects. Parishes have always got something they would like financial help with – village hall improvements and re-builds etc. Hedon is having lots of problems with the Horsewell Pond which no longer holds water. They are the sort of project I would envisage being able to qualify for consideration, however we’ll have to wait and see what’s on the table. I look forward with great interest to hear how it will work, and how much it will actually contain. I hope there are plenty of noughts in the figure!”
The idea of a Community Fund would seem to be a good idea. Local community and environmental projects could obviously benefit from such a fund. Although some residents would have liked to have seen the compensation represented in the form of lower water bills! However, as Councillor Dennis says, it will be interesting to see how many noughts there are in the figure! Enough noughts, and perhaps the ‘pot’ could be used to attract further funding!
The idea of a Community Liaison Panel to administer the fund with community group representation is also a positive suggestion. In fact something like this might be an opportunity to bring local community groups together to make project suggestions and nominate panel members.
The Yorkshire Water smells brought communities together in anger. Perhaps a Community Fund can bring them together to make things better!?