This week a new local award scheme has been announced the Pride in Hartlepool awards, which are being run by our local council. The scheme is designed ”to ensure that individuals have a chance to earn some deserved recognition for their efforts to make the town a better place”. Well whoop tee doo!
There are five categories of award if you really want to win one:
Best new environmental project, most environmentally active school, the green business award, pride in your neighbourhood award and the most inspirational environmental champion.
Its nice to see that individuals will have a bit of recognition for what they try to achieve but these tiny things are not actually changing the face of Hartlepool they may indeed reflect a bit of pride in the town but added together they dont change much really. Also, they seem to concentrate on environmental issues – Im not particularly green but I can still be proud of my town too! How about, alongside these awards, the council makes a new award for the best suggestion(s) to improve our town, and then they act on it. The judges could be all of us the residents of Hartlepool and this might make the council actually do something to make Hartlepool a town we can all be really proud of. Its time to finally dot the Is and cross the Ts to push the town into shape at last.
Here are my entries for the competition Mr Mayor and if they work here in Hartlepool then introduce them into every town and city in the country!
Introduce hard-line, zero tolerance policing, not the namby-pamby version that has been in Middlesbrough but the real thing all offences should be punished and new punishments of public humiliation (can you imagine the immense satisfaction that we would all get seeing someone walking the streets dressed in a fluorescent yellow suit with OFFENDER emblazoned across it picking up litter for 24 hrs) and permanent tattooing/marking of perpetrators of the worst offences.While Im on the subject of crime do you, Mr Mayor, want to cut the crime rate Well heres two things you can try:
1. Kick every drug users sorry ass out of town if they refuse help preferably into a ditch in a landfill. Fill it in.
2. Curfew all children no unaccompanied kids out after dark unless they have signed permission from their parents who are then responsible for their actions.
Demolish the Middleton Grange Shopping Centre and replace this nasty little dying mall with a network of smaller streets and shops that people may actually want to come from miles around to visit.Improve public transport get buses where pedestrians need them.Improve the first impressions of the town that people get when they arrive here remember that your average bloke from south of Yarm smirks into his hand when he talks about Hartlepool.
So lets take action now:
1. Build a new train station. Impress people who are coming to the town for the first time they just might relocate some of their business here if they would be happy to live here themselves and first impressions count for a lot.
2. Sort out the Southern approaches to the town anyone entering Hartlepool for the first time just thinks its a mess. Once again, create that good first impression if you were selling a house to someone and in one direction there was a leafy avenue and in the other a landfill then which way would you drive them to the house for a viewing Drive them past the landfill and you would probably kiss goodbye to the sale, but take them via the leafy lane Its the same for people coming into Hartlepool. I have had friends come to visit me who just go Oh my God when they see the mess to the South of here.
Send anyone who deals with the public on a course to learn basic manners not customer service skills thats a bit advanced for some of themjust manners!Close most of the bars on Church Street or at least get some furniture in them to change them from bottle swilling stand up drinking establishments to sit down and have a conversation pubs it worked for Premiership football why not in barsGet rid of all pit bull terriers and maybe even their owners as well.Make sure that all buildings/dwellings erected from now on are of such good quality that they will last for decades and decades not the thin walled slums of tomorrow that are being built currently as replacement housing.And finally get some bloody jobs into the area! Break the mould a little and offer big companies an incentive to start up operations in Hartlepool no business tax for a year if they bring 100 jobs or free rent of business units if they bring 50 jobs etc Im sure the local authority can list many reasons why this cant happen but how about approaching the issue from the point of view of how can we make this happen insteadIm sure there are many others that you can think of and the council do hold consultations on this kind of thing (access them online), but then dont take action fast enough or hard enough.
If the powers that be dont want to have an award for this kind of thing then how about letting me give them some full and frank feedback. Ill happily sit in a council meeting and fire bullets of sense at the assembly. I plead with our councillors have real Pride in Hartlepool be brave enough to be innovative and make a difference dont think what can be done for the people of Hartlepool during the life of this council instead, why not think what can be done to make Hartlepool a great place to live for the next 100 years.
p.s. Ill be away next week on a stag do so Mrs Headlander will be writing this article. Expect lots of chat about shoes, cookery tips, knitting patterns and a general slagging off of mankind in general and me in particular!