Do you know which issue is raised by residents most often? Well I get contacted by residents from my Ward for help with all sorts of problems and issues. For example a lovely family that had been in a privately rented house for ten years asked me to help them find housing, when they received two months notice to quit from their landlord. Of course the lives of this family and their children were based around their home in Ifield and there was not much other housing available, and none in Ifield at a rent similar to the one that they were paying or that they could afford. It’s surely time that tenants had better protection when they have done nothing wrong?
On a larger scale I was approached by a concerned group of residents from Deerswood Court on Ifield Drive, upset that this locally listed area had been allowed to deteriorate over recent years due to a lack of maintenance and was looking a little the worse for wear. Working with the Council we arranged for a complete external refurbishment of the buildings and for repairs to the grounds. The result took several years to achieve and is now a much improved and more pleasant place to live.
At the other extreme it is sadly an almost daily occurrence to find examples of dumped supermarket trollies or illegal fly-tipping. Trollies need to be reported for collection. Fly-tipping is usually removed very efficiently by Borough Council staff once I report it to them. These seemingly minor items do affect the overall appearance of the neighbourhood and, although there is no ‘duty’ on Councillors to get these problems solved I and my colleagues do try to take this problem seriously.
My objective is to get back to any resident that contacts me with a decent response, even if it is not always possible to solve their problem. We read and hear a lot about a general malaise and deterioration in our society, but I can tell you that the overwhelming majority of the several hundred people that I have tried to help over the last four years have been very grateful that someone took the time and trouble to both listen and care about their problem. We are lucky to live in a community like this and I am proud to have been given the opportunity to represent such good people. (Oh, and the answer to my question is ‘parking’ of which more anon.)
Cllr Peter Smith -; Labour Ifield and Ifield West
Cabinet member for Planning and Economic Development