We need respect for the environment and community

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I am and always have been very passionate and take great pride and interest in Burnley where I was born and raised.

I have witnessed how the empty, rundown and derelict houses in the last two decades have almost brought Burnley to its knees. We should remember the demise of good houses in Burnley Wood. So I was delighted when in 2012 Burnley Council successfully bid for and secured resources from the Homes & Community Agency. The eligibility criteria was quite exact; the programme is known as the Empty Homes Cluster Programme.

I took the opportunity on February 8th to attend an open day in Towneley Street to view one of the refurbished properties. I was very impressed with the standard of workmanship, a double whammy that a local firm had undertaken the work.

My elation was short-lived when I looked out on a back street opposite the house to see a mattress had been thrown out. No matter how much money is put into projects such as these to improve any area the basics need to be addressed.

First and foremost, attitude and respect for the environment and community we live in. In my opinion, the council should begin with the areas benefitting from this initiative, which are the Trinity, Gannow and Brennand Street areas, all of which have a high percentage of rented properties.

It is not my intention to tar all landlords with the same brush. This council should be more pro-active with Good Landlord & Agent schemes and selective licensing should be made compulsory, not just in certain areas but throughout town.

Before housing benefit is paid to a landlord the property should be inspected to meet a standard criteria, otherwise benefit is paid at the discretion of the council. Above all, enforcement must be implemented if we are to see a U-turn in the town’s prosperity.

As with the illustrious schools in Burnley, the buildings are beautiful and have all the facilities I could never have dreamt of. These are after all mere material things but it’s education that needs addressing and brought up to a good standard.

Paula Riley

Red Lees Avenue, Cliviger