For many of us who live in Old Amersham or run a business on one of the main streets such as the High Street, The Broadway or Whielden Street, our responsibilities do not end at the front door. The boundaries of most properties on these streets contain an additional area usually marked by stone sets. This area is under the ownership of the householder or business and it is their responsibility and not that of Chiltern District Council to keep clean.
Look up and down the streets of Old Amersham and it is obvious many do not realise this, with commendable exceptions, or do not attend to their duties diligently in keeping the front of their properties clean and free of weeds and rubbish. Some shops are real shockers as well, with expensive window dressing to delight the eye, only to be spoiled by a foreground of rampant weeds when one looks in from the outside.
Chiltern District Council do a pretty average job, although better than two or three years ago, of keeping Old Amersham pavements and roads clean at the best of times. This is despite the fact that it is a vibrant mixed use conservation area, in constant use from visitors, shoppers, pub and restaurant users alike for eighteen hours a day, seven days a week. Old Amersham is also a notable tourist attraction as an historic town with more listed buildings in one place than anywhere else in Buckinghamshire. So it is in everyone’s interest to keep the town spick and span.
The Amersham Society continues to urge Chiltern District Council and their contractors to do a better job of street cleaning and in particular to manually clean the gutters and footpaths regularly, where the current machine cleaning regime fails.
The Pubs have improved but could certainly do more to help and should do so as many an early morning trip to return glasses to their front doors testifies, but we all should do more ourselves whether residents or businesses and show some pride in this beautiful town. We have the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic Games coming up in the next year and in the cleanliness stakes we do not stand well in comparison with many near neighbours in other countries today. Local government is in retrenchment as part of a national fiscal consolidation, so if we can do better on street cleanliness ourselves, that is a start and makes their job easier as well.
So let’s make a 2012 resolution to improve matters by living up to our responsibilities with a bit of active localism, starting with a weeding and daily pick up in our own curtilage and surrounding area. And if we have infirm or disabled neighbours, let’s do for them as well.
If you see a particularly bad case of litter in Old Amersham, report it to Chiltern District Council Waste Management on Tel: 01494 732053, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.