Thursday, 27 October 2011

Really nice street in Finchley pledges to remain really nice

When you write a blog, you collect a little store of ideas that you mean one day to write up. I've been gazumped on one of the best: Ravensdale Avenue in Finchley.

I think this is one of the nicest streets in Barnet. Admittedly I did first visit it in a glowing light - literally - on a summer Sunday afternoon once. Walking down there, marvelling at the lovely front gardens, was like stepping back in time to the 1930s and the most dreamlike suburb of imagination, where householders mow stripes into their front lawns and brush the earwigs off their dahlias as dusk falls.

Well, somehow or other, Barnet council have inveigled the street's residents' association into participating in their "adopt-a-street" scheme. The woman quoted in this report in the Barnet Press explains why she agreed to join the scheme:
Mrs Wildish said she had had some doubts about the scheme when it was first presented to the residents’ association six months ago.

“We were concerned that if we did the work that other people would be sacked,” she said. “But the council said that budget had been set and that no one would lose their jobs.”

She said that the scheme had already had a positive effect on both the look and the mood of the area.
Improved the look and mood of Ravensdale Avenue - now that would be something to see!

The back story to this is the council's desperate attempt to find a role for their white elephant Pledgebank site - they offer to help 10 further streets sign up to the scheme if they apply via Pledgebank - and to promote their "do-it-yourself" brand of local government.

Brian Coleman is quoted by the Press as saying: “This is Big Society in action and the council is delighted to support residents in this work.”

For agreeing to take part, residents get no money but "training, as well as tools such as litter pickers, shovels and bin sacks." You are going to need an awful lot of those to prettify most of the borough's streets.

Adopt-a-street, like Pledgebank, is yet another gimmick, a desperate attempt to distract people's attention from the deterioration in the borough's services and general appearance, and make us feel that if things are going wrong it must all somehow be our fault.

If we could all just invest in some bin bags and dibbers, round up our neighbours, and give up our Sundays, Barnet wouldn't be such a drab place after all! I'll do it if you will, Brian - darers go first!


Mr Mustard said...

I think this lady may have signed the petition to save Church Farmhouse Museum so good on her. The council may not have been so keen on her if they had noticed.

David Duff said...

"If we could all just invest in some bin bags and dibbers, round up our neighbours, and give up our Sundays, Barnet wouldn't be such a drab place after all!"

Absolutely true, so what's your beef?

Vicki Morris aka Citizen Barnet said...

DD, I already give up my Sundays. And quite a lot of other days besides. So do a lot of people.

Councils are better at collecting rubbish and sweeping streets than we are, and it's what we pay council tax for. So let them do it!

Anyways, aren't we supposed to have a day of rest?

And, be honest now, do you go out with your neighbours and collect rubbish on the weekend?

Mrs Angry said...

no: he sits at home and writes it instead ... (sorry)

David Duff said...

Well done, Mrs 'A', that was a sharp, witty riposte.

And, alas, all too accurate!