View From The Deputy Leader - Cllr Clare Pritchard
Published Friday 24th June 2011 in Council and democracy news
You were probably expecting to see the new Council Leader, Cllr Miles Parkinson, in this hallowed spot every month, but it's just not his style to be in the paper all the time.
He's also a real team player, sharing responsibility for running the Council with his Cabinet. So he's asked that we, the Cabinet members, use this slot every month to tell you about what we are doing to make life better for people in Hyndburn and this month it's my turn.
Well, I have to say it's been really hectic since we took over the Council last month. My portfolio covers a whole host of things including environmental health, housing, regeneration and our town centres, so there's been plenty to get my teeth into since May. High on my list was to get the Peel Street toilets reopened as we promised we would do if elected. Shoppers and visitors have, quite rightly, been up in arms about their closure on Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays so it's good to be able to let them know that they are now reopened and normal service is resumed. We want to attract more shoppers into our town centres and make sure that they can get access to public conveniences is all part of this.
I've been working with our housing team to carry on the work to bring in a Landlord Licensing Scheme. All we are trying to do is protect tenants and those who live nearby from rogue landlords, they really do blight communities when they let their houses fall into disrepair or let them to tenants whose behaviour makes life a misery for neighbours. Decent landlords have nothing to fear from the scheme, but it will bring the irresponsible ones into line as they must sign up to it and stick to a range of rules and regulations about how they manage their property.
Talking about blight, we've always been concerned about the blighted sites which are a real problem in some Hyndburn neighbourhoods and we've been tackling the problem with gusto since day one. We've already got the go ahead to demolish 11 dangerously unstable homes in Spring Street, Rishton, which are a complete eyesore and have been a magnet for vandals and arsonists over the years. There are more blighted sites out there to tackle, and we intend to take a hard line on those who let their properties fall into disrepair along with people who dump rubbish and fly tippers. These things do take time to go through the legal process, but we are determined to do all we can and we need your help, so please call us on 388 111 with information about blighted sites in your own area.
Still with my housing and regeneration hat on I've been working with our MP, Graham Jones, to apply for external funding to kick start regeneration in Woodnook, after the residents there were left high and dry when the Tories pulled the rug out from under the Housing Market Renewal scheme, which was beginning to make a real difference in some of our more deprived neighbourhoods. I'll let you know how we get on.