A multi-agency operation to clean up part of a County Durham village has proved a major success, with 37 tonnes of rubbish, 30 fridge freezers and 11 TVs removed to date.
Durham County Council and agencies including Durham Constabulary, County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, the office of the Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, Horden Colliery Residents Association, Horden Parish Council, have joined forces for #WeAreNotJustANumber, a programme which is addressing issues linked to the environment and housing at the numbered streets area of the village.
The programme aims to encourage local people to play their part in the clean up, in order to create an increased sense of pride in where they live.
It has already seen two focused periods of activity in the area, starting in October and December respectively, the results of which have now been released.
These show that in the first two phases, county council staff removed 37 tonnes of rubbish from yards and gardens, 11 televisions and 30 fridge freezers.
The council’s team also fitted new gates or fencing at 60 properties to prevent waste being dumped in yards.
New waste and/or recycling bins were also provided to 69 homes, with council teams stencilling the property numbers onto both the containers and house walls or gates to ensure residents don’t lose them.
Contaminated bins were removed and side waste taken away with refuse collections, a practice which is continuing.
Rat baiting work was carried out at 29 homes while decorative boards were fitted to improve the appearance of 28 unsightly boarded up properties.
The council also contacted 127 private landlords about the need to have work done at their properties. Teams from the authority subsequently carried out work at 57 private properties.
Teams from the council also fitted 53 gas meter covers, 38 drain covers and 38 manhole covers.
The fire and rescue service carried out 22 Safe and Wellbeing Visits in the area, carrying out safety checks and fitting smoke alarms.
Oliver Sherratt, the council’s head of direct services, said: “We are committed to working with partners and local residents to make a real difference in the numbered streets and we hope these figures show we are starting to do that.
“Our next steps will be enforcement – issuing fixed penalty notices against those that fly-tip or leave their gardens and yards untidy, and we will consider prosecution where these notices aren’t complied with.
“We will continue to look at what else can be done to improve conditions for people living in the numbered streets.”
Pat Barnett, chair of the residents association, said: “We are pleased to be associated with the magnificent activity of Durham County Council and other agencies, which is the beginning of an ongoing campaign to improve the wellbeing of all residents within the numbered streets area.
“We would encourage all residents to report any incidents or criminal damage.”
The fire service’s Easington district manager Phil Innis said: “Having working smoke detectors and doing some simple things can reduce the risk from fire in your home considerably. Taking part in this project has proven to be worthwhile with 22 homes better protected as a result. To request a free safe and wellbeing visit call us on 0845 2234221 or ring service headquarters on 0845 305 8383 and ask for community safety.”
Residents can report fly-tipping at www.durham.gov.uk/flytipping or 03000 2600 00, find out about bin collections at http://www.durham.gov.uk/bins or 03000 2600 00, arrange an assisted bin collection at www.durham.gov.uk/assistedcollections or 03000 2600 00, and find out about pest control at www.durham.gov.uk/pestcontrol or 03000 2610 00.
They are advised to call 999 in emergencies and 101 for non-urgent matters.