THE FREQUENT and regular reporting of ‘problems’ on our local streets is something that the Hedon Blog has always supported. Whether that is using services like Fix My Street, or reporting issues to the East Riding Council or the Hedon Town Council, prompt reports of problems can ensure that they are listed for eventual remedial action.
Reporting problems, such as where localised flooding take place, broken streetlights and potholes, is not the task of nosey busy-bodies, but should be seen as a ‘citizen duty’ ensuring that our streets remain safe and clean, and that potential ‘hot spots’ where accidents and crime might take place are identified for action to be taken. Timely neighbourhood reporting of a ‘hot spot’, a blocked drain, or potholes on a road for example, could help the problem get sorted before it gets any worse and causes a major problem or accident! By reporting a broken streetlight and getting it fixed sooner, might prevent someone falling in the dark, or even a mugging taking place!
One of the ways to help ‘formalise’ this neighbourhood reporting is to set up an informal group to carry out a ‘hot-spots’ patrol or a neighbourhood walkabout.
A Neighbourhood Walkabout is where residents and local service providers – for example the local neighbourhood police team and council – get together in daylight and literally walk around the local neighbourhood. Problems like graffiti, fly-tipping, broken street lights or potholes can be identified and formally notified to service providers. The aim is to get a commitment from service providers to resolve the problems, or at least to explain clearly to local residents what can – or cannot – be done about an issue.
A common refrain in these times of austerity is that local councils no longer have the same resources as in previous times to tackle the problems in our neighbourhoods; they have to strictly prioritise what needs to be done and within the funding they have available. Probably one of the last things that a local council actually wants in tough economic times, is a group of concerned residents adding to the lists of “local snagging problems” in an area – but despite this, the local authority is duty-bound to respond to some if not most of the issues raised.
It takes someone to get things started in setting up a Neighbourhood Walkabout group – so here goes:
The Leaf Sail estate has its own unique problems with isolation from the rest of the town, issues with parking, problems with drains as well as those mentioned previously (street lighting, potholes, etc. The Hedon Blog will seek to arrange a time in February 2014 (a date, location to meet, and a route) to conduct a Neighbourhood Walkabout on the estate and invites concerned residents to take part; armed with camera and dictaphone we will record the issues we find. The Blog will also issue an invite to local service providers, Hedon Town Council, East Riding Council, local councillors, neighbourhood police and others to take part.
Issues discovered will be logged, written up as a report and the responsible service providers notified. The log of issues will then feature on the Blog regularly with progress reports given. A second Neighbourhood Walkabout will take place later in the year to assess progress, and pick up new issues.
Neighbourhood Walkabouts can take place in other parts of the town too, Inmans, Westlands, etc.
As long as we have got concerned and interested residents to take part and an administrator (Hedon Blog or other volunteers) to do the recording, reports and chasing up the service providers – then a cycle of Walkabouts and reports throughout the year across the town should clearly see the progress being made, the changes being achieved and the difference made.
Interested? Let us know!