Saturday, 23 September 2017

Mill Hill - The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

We went for a nice stroll around Mill Hill today. We took a few pictures on our phone, which demonstrate the good, the bad and the ugly in Mill Hill. Some of these we tweeted.

First up in this post, the good. There are some lovely hanging baskets. These are supplied and maintaned by volunteers from the Mill Hill Neighbourhood forum. This organisation has been formed to improve Mill Hill. They are putting together a neighbourhood plan and the intention is to give Mill Hill residents a vote on this plan. If this goes forward, the forum will be officially sanctioned to deliver the plan. They hold regular public meetings and actively seek engagement with all residents.  They have already delivered some improvements, of which the baskets are just one. The next will be the pocket park in Mill Hill Broadway.

Then we have the bad. Mill Hill Broadway is sadly suffering a spate of vandalism. This photo is one of the Council owned signs in the Broadway. We've seen windows smashed and other acts of petty, unsociable vandalism. Our view is that we really need to see the Police and Council work together to use the CCTV and other resources to catch the culprits and get the message across that anti social behaviour is not only stupid, but has consequences. On a more general note, I'd like to see a system where such low level crime results in a criminal record, but for first offences, this could be struck out if the culprits undertake community based work and volunteering.

Then we have the ugly. Bins and rubbish are an eyesore and a plague in Mill Hill Broadway. Councils really need to work with traders to ensure that we don't have to see such eyesores as we shop.

Our second tweet features the lovely flower beds in Mill Hill Broadway. These are maintained by the council and are a great example of how councils can make our High Streets better. I dearly hope such things are not sacrificed in the name of austerity cuts.

Then there is the bad. Litter. It seems that in Mill Hill you are never more than five feet from a piece of litter. This one was in the middle of Mill Hill Park. Is anyone up for a spot of litter picking? We will be looking to organise some soon.

And finally, The ugly. One of our bugbears is the unsightly signage that has proliferated in recent years on our high street Whilst we commended the council on their flowerbeds in Mill Hill, thwre can be no excuse for ugly signage like this.

On our third tweet, we have a concert by the amazing Pro Arte Choir.  It is always great to see some live music in Mill Hill and if you like choral music, you'll love the Pro Arte Choir. Such events are run by volunteers and we hope that they get good support.

Then we have the bad. A hut was recently been erected in Mill Hill Park for sports clubs usage. This has been completely vandalised and filled with rubbish. It seems that young people have taken to use it as a den to drink and take drugs in. I would urge parents to ensure that their children are not particpiating and involved in such wanton vandalism. I'd also like to see the council secure it. It is tragic that there is nowhere for teenagers in Mill Hill, so a vandalised and derelict sports store is seen as a  good place to meet. We should recognise that such things are tragic.

And then we have the ugly. A semi derelict phon box on Mill Hill Broadway. Utilities should maintain their infrastructure.  Lets face it, they make enough money out of us.

The point I am keen to stress is that in a quick walk around Mill Hill we see the good and bad side of the council and sadly the good and bad side of us residents. If we had less littering  and less vandalism, the council would have more money to spend on services.

It seems that the merits of volunteering have become politicised. As council budgets are cut ever thinner, the use of volunteers to replace council staff has become something of a hot topic. As trained council staff such as librarians have been replaced by volunteers, some have questioned whether vvolunteering is ethical in such circumstances. Our view is that such changes, where there is a massive drop in quality services should not be billed as an improvement or something to celebrate, however it may well be an economic necessity. If the council genuinely can't afford to employ trained librarians, they should spell out why.

The opening hours of Mill Hill library have been vastly reduced since it became a volunteer led project. In this day and age, councils feel obliged to put a spin on such developments, stating that such partnerships are a positive development. We feel that it would be far more honest to state that it is tragic that libraries lose qualified staff and have their hours cut. They should be encouraging residents to lobby central govenrment for more funds for such things. Its not my intention to be "party political" as I hope all parties should agree that libraries are an important part of our society.

As a society, we need to decide what we want from our public services and then make the case for funding them properly. I would have no qualms of paying a few pounds more a week to have better services, more of the good things in our high streets and less of the bad things.  When you see the price charged for a coffee or a hair do in the Broadway, it is clear that there is the cash in our community to pay a little more for a better environment. It is also clear that if we tidied up our mess, worked with the police and authorites to put a stop to vandalism, provided proper facilities for teenagers, we'd all have an even better environment to live in.

1 comment:

  1. I was at the library yesterday and I believe the opening hours have been extended. In addition the cafe and gallery and bookshop open all day for free visits. People were in there doing college work, meeting, having coffee yesterday afternoon.

    Volunteering has always been a great thing. In Mill Hill there is the Good Neighbour Scheme run by loads of volunteers.

    Politicising volunteering will not help improve Mill Hill. Rubbish and vandalism come from residents who lack respect for the environment. The Police and Council can’t be everywhere all the time. The answer is possibly for someone to set up a Volunteer team of residents to go around once a month to litter pick and take photos of unsightly vandalism then inform the Council to fix them. As Council tax payers our Council should respond within 7 days. Otherwise why should we be paying so much Council Tax.

    If Better Mill Hill organises this then I will certainly volunteer to help. It is up to us the residents of the area to pull together and then we can see improvements.

    Thank you for an excellent article. Now we need a solution.


Time for Mill Hill to come together