Tonight I attended the launch of the Street Leaders initiative across the HELM area (Lower Hellesdon, Earlham, Larkman, Marlpit) in which local people act to keep an eye on environmental and law issues in their streets. They report litter, fly tipping, ASB etc. It is based on a scheme in Southwark, London, and looks really exciting. I just hope the council can kepe up with the demand that this will create. When people report issue we must, and must be seen to, act on their concerns. The local team there deserve a lot of respect for pushing this forward and I felt it was a very professional launch. I trust this bodes well for a successful scheme in HELM!
A Q&A then followed and there was plenty of robust debate. Most people wanted to know why Southwark cleaned every street at least once a week when Norwich streets are cleaned one every 8 weeks! The answer was, I'm afraid, straight out of the New Labour handbook - if we increased street cleaning we'd have to make cuts in other areas. What nonsense, and for the first time somebody spoke up to say so!
What about cuts in non-frontline services and bureaucracy for a start? And I also think this - isn't street cleaning a statutory service? Shouldn't cuts take place in services that are not compulsory? Why don't we bring the City Council back to a base budget and do what we have to do really well before going further? Or is this too complicated? I'd love to know what other people think!