Things I heard:
Better maintenance of drains and general upkeep of streets wanted including weed control
– I heard this from quite a few residents. It’s a difficult one but we shouldn’t dismiss it. There was one grid pointed out to me that actually looked as though it had been cleaned. I might be wrong but if we have residents who believe their streets are not being serviced, and it worries them, shouldn’t we be giving better data. They’re paying council tax but we’re giving back information that’s borderline facetious describing the leaf clearance in terms of its weight in elephants. If residents want to know when and how often their grids ought to be cleared and whether that has happened we should be telling them.
I do think there’s a discussion to be had about street upkeep more generally. Cheap black tarmac patching on pavements highlight the fact that the pavements were originally laid to a standard that we’ll never match again. Whilst hopefully we can fund better than we do now, it’s probably unrealistic to think councils will ever realistically have sufficient funds to bring pavements and roads to a standard that people truly aspire to. How did that happen? Looking at it from a lay perspective, it looks to me that we’ve gone backwards even allowing for the increased workload we place on roads and pavements. Are we really using low tech and manual labour to standards lower than we used 100 years ago? Have councils and highway authorities demanded the sufficient improvements in technology and productivity that we’ve seen in almost every other field of work?
We really do need to enforce encroachment of vegetation onto the pavement. We’re denying people the right to move about freely if they’re pushing a pram or using mobility aids. This was raised by a resident in connection with a near neighbour and she’s absolutely right to raise.
I thought it interesting that one resident felt political parties ought to be more capable of working together. It’s polarised. I don’t know how we can change that.
Doorstep conversations are always interesting and provocative. I always come back with more challenges to the way we do things.