Dog fouling is persistent problem for Southend residents, and Councillors in Kursaal Ward are issuing a plea with people living in the area to make sure they are vigilant in keeping the streets clean
The Councillor team of Cllrs Louise Burdett, Blaine Robin and Kursaal Ward Conservative Candidate, Neil Austin are ramping up the campaign against dog fouling in the ward to raise awareness and encourage responsible practice in cleaning up after these pets. Prospective Councillor, Neil Austin, who is a lecturer at South East Essex College has been out talking to residents as part of his campaign and was surprised to find how often the issue was raised. “When we are out in the community talking to people, the issue of dog fouling is raised repeatedly by locals”, he says, “It would be a very easy problem to remedy if each and every dog owner took responsibility for clearing up their pet’s mess, so this is what we are calling for.”
Councillors Louise Burdett and Blaine Robin have been campaigning on the issue for some while to ensure that as much as possible is done to remedy the problem. They presented a petition on the issue, with over 200 signatures to the Council last July but it is clear that renewed action is required.
“We are concerned about this problem as it is not nice for residents to be confronted with dog mess on the streets on a daily basis, particularly if they do not have dogs themselves and are not part of the problem”, says Cllr Burdett, “From a Councillor perspective we are issuing a strong plea to residents out walking their dogs to make sure they act responsibly and pick up any mess when taking them out for a walk.” Cllr Robin, who has children himself, added “It is an issue causing most annoyance to young families with toddlers, prams and to wheelchair users in the ward as aside from spreading bacteria, it is incredibly unpleasant to have to clean it off.”
The ward Councillor team will be continuing to fight hard on the issue as needed in Council and through their communications with residents to make sure the situation improves.
This week Councillor’s Blaine Robin and Louise Burdett met with Councillor Stephen Castle. Stephen was a leading player in the London bid to host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games. Stephen spoke about the events locally in Southend and the impact that they would have on the local community.
For example Stephen spoke about the Velodrome which will also be used before the Games starts, he mentioned the white water rafting course on the River Lea and of course the mountain biking at Hadleigh.
Local Councillors in Kursaal Ward have been working hard to support the case for Selective Licensing powers for Southend Council, which mean they would have the authority to close down residential properties that did not meet stringent standards.
Conservative Councillors have been pressing for the scheme to start in Kursaal ward, in order to protect the standard of living for residents. Under the scheme, landlords who do not comply with a certain set of defined standards could have their properties shut down to residential lettings. Properties with being rented out, as a minimum would have to be well maintained and cared for or they risk being subjected to fines. Private landlords would also have a duty to take responsibility for the behaviour of their tenants, so reducing the intake of antisocial individuals who are then left to their own devices likely causing problems for neighbours in the area.
The move is supported by Councillors Louise Burdett and Blaine Robin, and Conservative Ward Candidate Neil Austin who have been in communications with Councillor Anna Waite who holds the portfolio for Housing. It is recognised that this will be an important first move for improving the quality of living the town, particularly in more disadvantaged wards such as Kursaal where there is at present a high proportion of shared accommodation, flats and bedsits.
The Council plan to take this forward as a serious step, and Cllr Waite said “Whilst selective licensing will not turn the area around alone it is a first and important step to address the issues and I am very committed to get this up and running.”
“There will be a consultation and I urge residents to get involved in this and to let us know what they think. Within the selected area all rented properties, not just Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), can fall within the selective licensing remit if Anti Social Behaviour is present.”
Through his work in Kursaal Ward, Neil Austin has been able to identify the clear need for moves such as Selective Licensing to improve quality of life for many residents. “Having been out in the Ward, talking to local people, it is clear that something needs to be done to ensure landlords can take more responsibility for the people they take into their properties. It is also a basic right for people in the area to have a property that meets good quality standards and provides all the modern conveniences that can be expected. There is work to be done, and Selective Licensing is a positive first step to offering that protection to our community.”
Private residents concerned with the standard of their rented property, or with any housing issues can speak to their local councillors. Residents can also submit their views to the consultation when it opens at the Council’s website: http://www.southend.gov.uk/
Picture from the 'Echo'
I think it is definitely a step in the right direction for Southend Council with the proposals for a selective licensing scheme to hopefully start in Kursaal and Milton wards.
What does Selective licensing mean?
Selective licensing means that the council will ultimately have more power to implement standards for decent living. If landlords do not comply with a set of standards the council could close down the property. This is particularly welcomed news in Kursaal ward where there is at present a high proportion of shared accommodation, flats and bedsits.
As well as this landlords would have to ensure that their property is well maintained and cared for otherwise they could be fined.
The other side to this is, that a landlord must also take responsibility for the behaviour of the tenants and therefore cannot just dump antisocial individuals and forget about them which then leads to problems for the neighbours.
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