Julian Bray writes: Veteran Vince Parker has been fighting a relentless but dignified campaign to get the dirty old City of Peterborough properly cleaned up, and you would expect the Dear Leader Marco Cereste and the Council CEO, former council solicitor, Gillian Beasley to be right behind him, and for councillors from all sides, to be jumping up and down to ensure our streets are clean, tidy and safe to walk in.
But the evidence so far is that its an uphill struggle to get the message through. And some councillors are being positively obstructive, the ones who bother to attend core meetings that is, putting up spurious reasons for sitting on their hands, doing very little, but still drawing allowances ...
Clearly with the PCC 'Bread & Circuses' fun budget carefully ringfenced (Ring Master and promotional 'fun texting' expert Cllr. Gavin Elsey) to keep events going in the fabled Public Realm vis the Marco Cereste Memorial Fountains Pigeon & Small Dirty Boy Wash, located in Cathedral Square, it matters little if those littered areas expertly highlighted by Vince Parker are not regularly featured in the Town Hall 'Pravda' publicity columns as they are just 'airbrushed from history' by the well funded public relations and publicity teams.
In passing, the recently installed mega expensive stone slabs in Cathedral Square (outside Pattiserie Valerie) after they were ripped up for cable ducting, look as if they've been plonked in place by a junior apprentice, with edges sticking up (possible trip hazard) certainly no spirit level used! Pathetic.
Many PCC councillors own dozens of rental properties for multiple occupation in the declining areas Vince features. You would think they would be in the vanguard to ensure the value of their investments (pensions?) are kept in pristine condition and not just a 'cash cow' dragging the whole neighbourhood down to 'slum' status? Perhaps its deliberate? If the area declines, so will property values, ready to be snapped up for more multiple occupation rentals? Who knows?
Out of sight, out of mind? What would new businesses considering investing in Peterborough think if they knew our 'no overall control' council had allowed the periferal multiple occupation rental led Peterborough neighbourhoods to decline so quickly, by simply ignoring their responsibilty to keep the City clean and safe?
In fact many of the new businesses and firms considering Peterborough, do know, as their agents follow this blog to get an unvarnished view of what really happens within our City. We know because they tell us. It is also the case that some existing businesses are thinking of moving out, due to the 'managed decline' and 'ineffective leadership' as they put it.
If the PBROTRIB published all the e-mails and evidence by way of detailed pictures (hundreds of them....) supplied by Vince, we'd need to run a whole new website just devoted to this one subject. Any one spotting dumped furniture, rotting matresses or just litter WWW.Fixmystreet.com is an excellent place to report matters, as unlike the traditional approach to council (01733 747474) it gets repeated national publicity and is constantly consulted by property developers.
The council according to Vince are adopting a classic jobsworth approach and pushing the problem to the bottom of the ever increasing pile of 'to be done after the next election' list. Judge for yourself:
Thank you for copying me into this message.
Your comments are noted with interest.
Councillor for Park Ward
Labour: Taking ACTION and getting things done in Park Ward
Date: Sun, 19 Oct 2014 06:36:27 +0100
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Dear Councillor Peach,
Comments on the activities of [disc jockey] Steve Allen, made in your Issue 356 of the Park Ward in Touch Newsletter of 19th October 2014, indicate that he apparently does not recognise councils' responsibility for the removal of all graffiti, including that on 'private property'.
This responsibility is recognised by Cambridgeshire County Council . To quote their website : -
This responsibility arises from the Environmental Protection Act (EPA)1990, which ensures that public spaces and highways are kept free from litter and refuse, as far as is reasonably practicably (as detailed in the Code of Practice on Litter & Refuse (Nov 2006).
LINK : https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/218806/cop-litter.pdf
These provisions may be summarised as follows : -
• Cleaning all streets, footways and open spaces that are in public ownership.
• Removal of graffiti.
• Removal of fly-tipping.
• Emptying of litter and dog bins.
• Collection of dead animals, both domestic and wild
• Collection of domestic bulky waste.
As far as councils' recovery of the cost of removing graffiti from private property is concerned, this is provided for under Section 48 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 :-
"Section 48 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 gives local authorities the power to serve graffiti removal notices on certain bodies responsible for the surface where graffiti has appeared. These bodies include the owners of street furniture (bus shelters, street signs, phone boxes etc). The notice gives a minimum of 28 days for the removal of the graffiti, if after that time it has not been removed the local authority can remove it and can recover its costs".
If councils were not responsible for the removal of graffiti from private property, then I suggest that there would be no point in the existence of Section 48 (as above).
From your newsletter 356 of 19th October, it would appear that Peterborough City Council have not been particularly diligent in respect of graffiti removal :
"Steve said : These locations had been an eyesore for many months."
Could I please request that you take up this matter with the Council's administration, on behalf of myself and other residents of Park Ward.
The Law Society's website informs me that Peterborough City Council has ample legal support; it would therefore not appear to be a difficult task ....
LINK : http://solicitors.lawsociety.org.UK/office/people/489716/Peterborough-city-council?Solicitors=True
It would be of value, I believe, if confirmation of Peterborough City Council's responsibility for the removal of all graffiti were to be notified to Steve Allen, together with those that are copied with this email, and myself.
Thanking you in anticipation,