Cheltenham's MP, Alex Chalk, and his Conservative counterpart on the Borough Council, Councillor Tim Harman, have this week stepped up their campaign against 'grot spots' across the town.
They have compiled a hit list of ten key areas they want to see action on over the upcoming year, with run down buildings, graffiti and unsightly parts of the public realm all on their radar.
The intervention follows a ‘grot spot’ campaign launched by Alex Chalk following his election to Parliament last year, with the town's MP personally intervening to speed up action on a number of problem areas, including broken street railings and scruffy bollards and lampposts.
Together with the Conservative group leader on the Council, Tim Harman, he has called for a more pro-active approach to regeneration locally, with the Borough Council encouraged to step in and demand landlords and site owners take the necessary action to ensure their sites and buildings are in a fit state of repair.
Speaking about the campaign, Mr Chalk commented: ''Cheltenham is a beautiful place to live and work, but there are too many sites and buildings which let our town down. We have a duty to make the largest conservation area in Europe look its best.''
Not content with focusing purely on land and buildings in need of regeneration, the pair have also highlighted the issue of graffiti and unsightly sections of the public realm, which they argue blight many parts of Cheltenham, particularly the town centre.
Councillor Tim Harman, whose local Conservative team for the upcoming May elections have placed creating a cleaner and tidier Cheltenham at the top of their agenda, added:
‘’Everyone needs to play their part in ensuring our beautiful town remains an attractive place to live and do business in. While we cannot expect the local authorities to tackle this problem alone, we need to send out a clear message to other key stakeholders that we are proud of this incredibly special town which we call home and remind them that they have a responsibility to do their bit to maintain Cheltenham's overall attractiveness.''
In order to kick start the campaign, Alex Chalk and Councillor Tim Harman have identified a ten strong hitlist, which they are calling for action on over upcoming months. They will be sending the list to the enforcement team at the Borough Council, both to seek clarification regarding the actions taken so far on each of these sites and to call for further action to improve the state of these buildings/sites for the benefit of local communities.
1) Springbank Shopping Centre
2) Former Gas Nightclub, St James' Square
3) Former Carlton Street post office
4) Banksy House, Fairview Road
5) Former Mecca Bingo site, High Street
6) 127 High Street (next to the proposed John Lewis site)
7) 331 High Street
8) Graffiti, including on St Georges Place, Sherborne Street and the alleyway between St Georges Road and the Honeybourne Line
9) Former 'Bites' shop, on the corner of St Paul’s Road and Brunswick Street
10) 60 Swindon Road (derelict building at junction with King Street)