A verbal update will be provided to the Committee on the Big Clean.
Following on from the last meeting of the Committee and the decision made at Council the implementation phase was progressing. Equipment and plant were being procured and the website was up and running, to the date of the meeting 335 issues had been notified. 44 people had been interviewed, the majority being local people. Promotion work on volunteering was being undertaken and the Communication Team were working well to engage volunteer groups on social media. The Cabinet Member Environment encouraged Members to get Parish Councils let us know where there were issues in the rural areas and to get involved.
The Big Clean was a large logistical exercise which was coming together. Training was being undertaken at the beginning of August and risks were being managed. The employment front was looking good with between 36 and 50 people being employed to cover the scheme who were locally based. A significant logistical issue was an alternative site for storage of the site equipment although this had been addressed and there were no major issues. A comment was made about people’s impatience and it was stated that communications were constantly up dated and an interactive service was available enabling people to see how issues were progressing.
One Member commented that people could self-help, for example where weeds were situated on pavements fronting their property they could pull the weeds out. The Cabinet Member Environment agreed, it was important that the project instilled a sense of pride in neighbourhoods so that everyone looked after their own patch, part of that engagement was also working with schools to educate both children and parents alike.
Reference was then made to not just domestic properties but also shop fronts and fast food outlets work was being done to engage with businesses so that they took pride in their buildings and surroundings. One Member stated that the proposed Big Clean had gone down well within Parishes but queried how the map on the website worked if it was for a large area. A description field was included on the website and this should be completed accordingly and only necessitated one “pin” on the map for the area concerned. A further question was asked about timescales and how much notice would be given to when work was carried out. Currently a skeleton work plan had been made for every location. Depending upon the speed that work was carried out and the number of areas to cover within each area the plan would be added to. The Communication section would be mailing messages to parishes updating them on progress, twitter feeds would be used also as well as before and after pictures. The work plan at this stage was very much a work in progress.
One Member thanked the Cabinet Member for attending a recent Market Deeping Town Council meeting and that he had volunteered. He then asked what sort of issues that had been received that fell out of the scope. Typical examples were given such as the reporting of pot holes, grass verges not being cut, broken fencing on private land, there was a narrative box for people to complete. With the issues that fell out of scope people were contacted and informed that the issue had been passed to the relevant body. Issues that were the responsibility such as fly tipping would be dealt with under the normal process, the same with graffiti if it was offensive and located where there was a lot of foot fall. A further reference was made to prominent graffiti on private land, permission was sort from owners before work was carried out.
It was stressed that the update was a verbal update to give Members some context to the Big Clean project. Once the project had been completed an evaluation would be carried out.
Further references were then made to shop frontages and the Cabinet Member Environment confirmed that the shop front scheme had been agreed to continue at a recent Governance and Audit Committee meeting which would aid in lifting the street scene. Conversations had been undertaken with Lincolnshire County Council on a number of areas and they would continue to spray weeds but by co-ordinating efforts this would be better addressed. The Cabinet Member for Major projects stated that in some case shop fronts extended to sides and this should also be included within the scheme.
A comment was then made about bins being located in new developments, however this was not standard within Section 106 Agreements. Another Member commented on the basal growth of trees which affected both the footway and highway to which the Executive Manager Environment stated that this work would be liaised with LCC as it was classed a horticultural growth.
Further comments were then made about graffiti on private property and the big clean. It was stressed that permission needed to be sort from owners of private property before work was carried out. The website was monitored and anything offensive was dealt with appropriately. The Member was disappointed that graffiti on private property was not dealt with by the Council regardless of gaining permission. In the vast majority of cases, people had to be notified or permission needed to be sort to go on the private land or legal notices issued. In some large cities they may have a fast track process to seek permission to remove graffiti at short notice. Instances of graffiti were looked at on a case by case basis as depending upon where it was located specialist equipment was required and it had to be dealt with appropriately.
The Chairman then closed the discussion and Members noted the update.