I have recently had a serious health incident. One of the side effects of my health is that I have been getting around slower and therefore notice things!
I must confess that I have professional experience in street scene matters, having worked for Eastbourne as a road sweeper, been a housing manager, including estates manager at the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and considerable experience of sustainability and access issues.
I am unclear how the issues I am seeing are being thought about and am therefore making some tentative suggestions that I would appreciate were discussed fully by appropriate senior managers and politicians.
My apologies if these ideas are already being progressed but this is not obvious.
One of the key tools RBKC has are very detailed plans of all planting and a complete street inventory with related management routines. These plans were reflected for example in their car parking management systems.
I am unclear if full audits, mapping and asset registers exist for all of London, with details of maintenance, renewal and replacement plans, with all agencies working together to create these. Might not these be available on line and open source so that members of the public may make comments?
After many years experience, I am of the strong opinion that actually highly qualified and trained staff, properly paid, working as geographical teams is the best way to do things. There need to be clear career progression, with apprenticeships.
Everyone needs a very strong ethos of working for and with the commonwealth.
I envisage creating ward teams that include all cleaning and caretaking and related staff in a geographical area, including schools, council housing estates staff and similar roles. I would grow these teams by including facilities staff of businesses, surgeries, hospitals, police, transport etc as appropriate and as contracts are renegotiated.
Silos are a major issue. The caretakers on an estate I worked at would sweep estate rubbish into the road kerbs…
Locally to me, I understand there are continuing boundary issues about the subways at Gants Hill. This is a classic management problem, that requires a whole system approach.
There are similar relationship issues for example with people working with probation.
No one should be working by themselves, a basic principle is that a team cleans a street, a shopping centre…
This creates a rhythm to the work and team members help each other to ensure the work is done properly.
There are many business opportunities that become possible – gardening and cleaning of private spaces adjoining streets, for example.
I hope the above gives an outline of a very different way of doing things.
An accessible, sustainable way bringing income into the local communities that ensures London is a place to be proud of.
The links below are about related matters of street scene.