Sunday, 15 August 2010

Don't let Hastings go to the dogs

Is this poster offensive? It’s being pasted on to the council’s billboards along the seafront and elsewhere. But will it help change the culture of owners allowing their animals to foul the pavement/beach/park (delete where applicable)?

Its all part of the council’s get tough approach to dog fouling, litter, flytipping etc that we outlined in the programme for the year adopted at the annual council meeting just after the elections in May.

Now I enjoy discussing world affairs or our vision for Hastings but I appreciate that when I knock on residents’ doors what they often want to talk about is what they see when that front door is opened – and dog fouling is part of their daily experience and they expect the council to act. So we will.

The new hard-hitting posters, the car stickers with the same wording, some friendlier but equally challenging stickers for children and the street stalls being held round the town mark the get tough campaign.

I helped out at the street stall in the town centre on 14th August and everyone I spoke to was happy with the message and the wording – many took car stickers so they must agree with what is being said.

But does the council really do anything about it – well 250 on the spot fines have been handed out in the last two years at £75 a time and that’s before the get tough campaign has kicked in.

Of course it can be difficult to catch some of the culprits (that’s the irresponsible owner not the dog). So if there’s a particular time when you know this happens in your area let the council know (0800 0854 500)and the community officers (or wardens as many know them) will come along at that time in plain clothes and take whatever action is required.

Similar steps are being taken with flyposting. Pubs and bars are being written to and told that if there is flyposting that advertises events in their premises they can be prosecuted.

Cleaning up the town is what the overwhelming majority of local people want but it’s also part of making Hastings more prosperous. If we want people to visit, move here, open a business here then we can’t tolerate rubbish or dog fouling on our streets.

As someone said to me on the street stall - it’s not the poster that’s offensive but what she has to walk around on the pavement is.