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Rebuilding Trust in Our Community

This is what I have learnt in my first 6 months about the residents and community as a borough councillor for Eastfield ward.

Initially my first issue to deal with was a request for a tree to be cutback which was causing a health and safety issue outside a residents home ,this must be straight forward I thought, after many phone calls, calls not returned and emails and ownership issues between NBC and NCC the tree still remains a problem,

 

Picking up issue’s dealing with outstanding and unfinished building works left by Amey from 2016 next up, cycle barriers taken out and not replaced, cutback shrubbery dumped in piles to be moved

This has been overgrown by weeds because of the length of time it has been sat there, grass areas not replaced or repaired to cover up the mess from plant machinery ,leaving the area in a shocking state ,despite numerous attempts to deal with issue, job numbers given to me for requested works more phone calls , emails ,no calls back from departments the workings are still now 6 months later still waiting to be completed.

I met with one young family with 2 children, one toddler and one 2 year old who were desperate to move from their one bedroom flat, they all share one room to sleep in and are desperately short of living space.

Another request was for a leaking roof to be repaired which was causing damp and freezing temperatures, this request was from a heavily pregnant mother whose midwife was deeply concerned about the conditions she was living in.

I have seen the fantastic and dedicated work being done by volunteers at the St Albans Church Foodbank in my ward.

Every Friday ,they provide that beacon of hope for many in our local community hit by austerity and many that have fallen below the poverty line,

What would happen if the volunteers couldn’t help? Do we look after and reward our local hero’s enough I ask myself?

I’ve been asked to join the committee of the Friends of Eastfield Park, attended numerous Eastfield Residents Association meetings, met with the many dedicated people who over previous years have fought hard and care passionately about the people and community of the Eastfield and Lakeview area

New building work in the ward has begun with the Lakeview House development and the re-building of the Broadmead Baptist Church which will act as a new gateway to our local community and ward.

People are still struggling in Eastfield, Fly tipping still a major problem, blighting the area, missed rubbish collections happening weekly, lack of parking areas, urgent repairs to buildings requested, are still not being addressed.

Eastfield Ward needs a new deal, our community needs to be able to trust that problems will be addressed in a reasonable time, and not left for years to be dealt with, I would like to request an urgent review now.

 

Councillor Paul Joyce

Eastfield Ward

Rebuilding Trust in Our Community

Rebuilding Trust in Our Community This is what I have learnt in my first 6 months about the residents and community as a borough councillor for Eastfield ward. Initially my...

Community Safety-  Council 24.4.18

There is increasing concern about the levels of crime in the town. The number of PCSOs and police officer has been cut drastically leaving us with 50 Neighbourhood officers for the whole town; 28 PCSOs, 15 Police Constables and 7 Sergeants. With shift work, holidays and sickness we don't see many on our streets. Crime and the fear of crime are a big.  The police and other services are reduced due to funding cuts at both County and Borough levels.

As the support for our communities diminishes our most vulnerable families are suffering. The loss of Sure Start and children's centres, reduction in mental health provision, the imminent closure of our libraries, the patchy funding for youth groups, the low wage economy and the 15,000 children living in poverty, in our town, provide the environment for the gangs to move in form Birmingham and London to exploit our fragile communities.

The police direct their resources based on the Vulnerable Localities Matrix which ranks areas in the county from 1-490. 20 areas within Northampton are in the top 44 labelled Very High. The top three, the only ones in the Extremely High category , are in our town. The matrix is based on several factors - deprivation, poverty, social housing, drugs, gangs, sex workers, violent crime, domestic violence, rapes - these will direct resources to emerging threats.

There is alarming evidence of children as young as 7 years old being drawn into criminal activity. The drug dealers pay them to deliver drugs and they can be seen doing just this on their bikes in full view,  in our parks and residential streets. With both parents possibly juggling two jobs and no spare money for the children, peer pressure to have the latest phone and fashionable trainers pushes these young people into the hands of the criminal gangs.

The Early Intervention Hub, run by the police, has been piloting a project in Northampton North East since September 2017. Nine PCSOs and officers are working with 46 schools in the area. They work with children as young as five who have been identified by school staff.  There is an acknowledgement by the PCC that the timely help for children and their families who need it will prevent long term, traumatic and costly changes to themselves, their communities and society.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) refers to the sources of stress that children may suffer in early life. These include abuse, neglect, violence between parents, alcohol and substance misuse, and peer and community violence.

 Considerable and prolonged stress in childhood has lifelong consequences. It can increase the likelihood of involvement in violence and a range of other problems. Early intervention programmes, such as parenting support can enable parents to provide safe nurturing environments for their children.

 Promoting social and emotional learning in Primary schools is critical for supporting children who are at risk of gang involvement, youth violence and other poor outcomes. These social and emotional skills are vitally important for children's life chances. These skills include the ability to understand and manage emotions and regulate behaviour - skills which help children to develop resilience and avoid risky situations.

This council will therefore take the following actions :

  • We need to know and understand from the PCC and a new chief constable the full picture of crime in the town.
  • We will  support the continued funding of the Early Intervention Hub and its expansion to other areas of the town.
  • We will ask our Community Safety team to work with partners to assess the risk and produce an updated  community safety strategy to include the risk of gang violence and crime to our young children.
  • In the recently published Serious Violence Strategy Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, states 'I am also clear that Police and Crime Commissioners have a pivotal role to play and I want to see them prioritise and work in partnership to tackle the serious violence that damages communities'.
  • We will  urge the PCC and the Community Safety Partnership to bid for funding  from the Home Office's £11 million Early Intervention Youth Fund for youth and community groups who support early intervention and prevention activity in children and young people.

This was my speech to our Labour motion. The motion was amended by the Tory administration and turned into a self congratulatory motion about what is happening - not what should done.

We are worried about escalating crime

Community Safety-  Council 24.4.18 There is increasing concern about the levels of crime in the town. The number of PCSOs and police officer has been cut drastically leaving us with...

Thinking of buying a new home? Please read this:
Unadopted roads, in my opinion, are a National scandal. Residents of those roads pay their Council taxes but if anything goes wrong with the road, paths, lighting, Highway verges and trees the residents of that street have to pay for it’s repair/maintenance themselves because the County Council has not adopted it.
Some developers pay in a bond, thru a s38 payment within the planning process - some do not - as the bond is not compulsory. It is money set aside to ensure the road on new developments is brought up to the correct standard to be adopted by the County Council.
With one street, Tower Hill Close, we were told there was no bond and that is why it was not adopted. But by digging deeper we found there WAS a bond!! 
The bond for Tower Hill close was put aside it’s value initially was £46,000 but apparently  once the road is completed by the developer the bond reduces to 10% of the value - £4600 in this case. No one called for the road to be adopted. Why?
Surely, in 17 years since the development was completed, that bond could have been used to adopt the road. I would like to know where the interest of this '£4600' is because now the County Council refuse to adopt it because there is not enough money there to bring it up to standard. Also, I’m told that if they adopt this road they will have to adopt all unadopted roads and that will cost tens of £millions.
A very common reason for roads not being adopted is that once houses are sold a developer can go into liquidation therefore relinquishing its responsibilities without completing all infrastructure on the development. The developer could then then create another company and so on it goes. There are hundreds of unadopted roads in this County. 
I’m told that if they adopt this one road they will have to adopt all unadopted roads and that will cost tens of £millions.
Another issue is that the Borough Council is now no longer adopting green spaces on new developments which means someone has to pay for the maintenance, emptying bins etc into perpetuity. That person will be you, the buyer. AND you will also be paying Council Taxes.
When purchasing a new home please make sure there is a bond in place or you have some form of indemnity insurance to protect you. Always nag until the road is adopted when the development is complete and always get independent financial advice.
I am working with an MP for this area to get this issue taken more seriously in Westminster. I’ll keep you updated.

Unadopted Roads

Thinking of buying a new home? Please read this: Unadopted roads, in my opinion, are a National scandal. Residents of those roads pay their Council taxes but if anything goes...

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