Along with parking, litter and fly tipping remain among the top issues that residents contact us the three of us about. So we put our heads together to think about how we could make a difference, and we are starting, right now, a mini campaign.
It’s called ‘I heart Forest Gate‘. Because the thing that unites all the various people who have talked to us about their concerns is that they genuinely love the area and they want it to be better.
We want to hear from you, during November, about the places in the ward where we could make a difference. Places where litter, fly tipping or anti-social behaviour are a recurrent problem. We want to know what the problem is, and also any intelligence you have about any of the above: any particular times or days when things happen, or other information that might help not just to observe what is happening, but also to help stop it.
Once we have collected all the information we can from anyone who wants to contribute, we will collect it together, and agree a small number of ‘hotspots’. We want to then work with the Newham Enforcement team to concentrate on these areas that you’ve told us concern you so that we can make a real difference, either through some officer presence, working with the police, enforcement action, problem-solving to figure out where issues are coming from, or perhaps something else entirely.
Then we want to report back to you, to let you know what we’ve done, or are doing, and for you to let us know whether things seem better.
Being part of ‘I heart Forest Gate’
We want this campaign to be all about our residents, and the places that you think could be better. The more information we have, the better we can identify where needs attention. Please do get in touch.
Contact us however you would prefer. It would be most helpful, though, if you used the following methods rather than telephoning us, just so that we can be sure that we have a record of the area and issue you are letting us know about. Also, it can sometimes be difficult for us to answer the phone, if we are busy doing other things, and using the methods below means we can definitely get your information, and use it.
It’s no secret that we love twitter. You can tweet any of us or all of us, and please use the hashtag #iheartforestgate as this will help us raise awareness, and collect all the information together.
Ellie – @elliecrobinson
Rachel – @rectripp
Seyi – @seyiakiwowo
You can email all three of us, or just one of us, whichever you prefer (we won’t take offence).
email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Come to a surgery
Come and see us at the Gate library, Woodgrange Road, 4-20 Woodgrange Rd, London E7 0QH on a Saturday morning from 10.30 – 11.30
Write to us
Or you can write to any of us at the following address:
London Borough of Newham
1000 Dockside Road
We will also hold a street surgery one day (likely to be the 28th November, but date and venue to be confirmed – check this blog for confirmation) to ask passers-by for their input.
If you have already contacted us about casework that you think falls into this category, then please be reassured that we log all our casework, and are going to go back over all those cases which relate to litter, fly-tipping or ASB, and make them part of this process. If you have already contacted us but want to contact us again to make doubly sure that we definitely have your information and will include it in this process, then please do so.
What will you do with the information?
We will log it, and collate the areas and any intelligence, and use it with our colleagues in Enforcement and if appropriate with the police and other partners, to see if we can take action to improve the situation. We won’t share your details with anyone outside the Council without your permission.
What if the information I send you is outside Forest Gate North?
Then we will send it on to your ward councillors so that they can deal with it for you.
How will I know what happens?
You can check this blog for updates. Also, if you take part in I heart Forest Gate and send information to us, we will get back to you and let you know which hotspots we have focussed on, and what happens as a result.
How will you choose which areas to target?
This will depend on what information we receive. Ideally, we want to be guided by feedback, so will choose those areas that lots of people let us know about. However, we know that some residents are more able to contact us than others, and also that there may be some areas with more intractable problems (and correspondingly, other problem areas that are easier to tackle). We will report back on the areas we chose, and why, and will be as transparent as we can about what we are doing and why.
Why are you only worried about litter and fly tipping and ASB in November 2014? Why not all year?
We are always concerned about these things! You can let us know at any time where you think that something should be done. But we want to experiment with a more targetted look at the ward, to see if we can harness information from residents to make a visible difference, and this is how we are doing it.
Will you do this again?
We might. We will see how this way of working goes, and will report back (honestly) on how successful it was. Depending on the results, we may do it again, or we might try something similar in a different way, or we may abandon it entirely. We will let you know.
I heart Forest Gate
Tackling litter, fly tipping and ASB
Love your local area? Get in touch and tell us where we could make a difference #iheartforestgate
I think it is great to involve local people with this initiative – but finding out what and where problems are is neither new or a solution. Problem hotspots are well known and recorded by the Council (if not we’re really in trouble). Newham Council have done a great deal of work with the local community to combat anti-social behaviour e.g. Respect, Binnit, Newlook, Streetwatchers to name but a few. Past campaigns have identified problems and hotspots. They have also identified reasons for anti-social behaviour such as a lack of awareness, a transient population, being poor and lack of council resources to do more.
Can we take a look at what was good and bad with previous campaigns and then build upon that rather than starting from scratch again ?
Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I certainly agree that finding out about problems that have already occurred is not new nor is it a solution. I hope that we’ll be able to do lots of things – of which ‘I heart Forest Gate’ is one – to help combat fly tipping and ASB, but I also can see that these are thorny problems with no easy answers.
What we are trying to do here is specifically to focus Enforcement’s efforts (which are ongoing and sometimes which I worry are a bit invisible to residents) on areas that residents agree are especially bad, to make a visible difference over a defined period, and also in order to be accountable in a public way.
There are of course so many underlying reasons for litter, fly tipping and ASB too, including the ones you highlight. As a new councillor (well, newish, time flies since May), I have to confess I wasn’t actually aware of the previous campaigns, but we will speak to people and see if we can use the learning from those. I don’t think this campaign will do everything, but I think it’s worth giving it a try to see if we can achieve *something* and then seeing what else we can do.
I am not sure whether I have really answered your comment properly, but I wanted you to know we are listening.
If as you say the council have done numerous things and know where the hotspots are why are they still a problem? My view is that none of these campaigns were sustained for long enough – a weekend here or an awareness campaign there doesn’t work – it takes a prolonged and sustained effort to change attitudes
Thanks for you continuous support for the FGM Service. Bringing hope to residents of Newham
Is it possible to improve pavement in Odessa Road?
Hello Amit, The short answer is – maybe! I have got your email on this topic, too. We know that the condition of the pavements could be better, and I believe there is some resource set aside to help to improve things but obviously we can’t do everywhere. I will find out about Odessa Road specifically and reply to your email with some more information. (If anyone else is reading this and is concerned about a specific pavement, do contact us to see if we can help).
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