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Town centre tidy after council shamed by press

A weekly newspaper has prompted a clean up of a town centre grot spot by sticking up for residents and businesses in the area.

The Richmond and Twickenham Times forced the council to get to work at a town centre spot commandeered by drunks during the day.

They had been making life a misery for shoppers and traders and ruined what should have been a nice feature in Richmond’s main street.

The paper’s campaign culminated in an in-depth news focus feature which detailed how:

  • a florist next to the site complained that business was being ruined;
  • a cafe owner regularly had screaming matches with the winos; and
  • security guards had quit Tesco because they couldn’t stand the verbal and physical abuse.

    In the comment column of the same edition, the paper called on the council to act immediately to deal with the problem.

    The following week council workers descended on the site, removing benches, replanting flower beds, jet washing the whole area and bringing in huge flower tubs.

    Editor Paul Mortimer, who was appointed in April, said: “This has demonstrated that good local newspapers have the ability and power to affect change.

    “As well as being a paper of record, there are times when it is right for the local weekly to get off the fence and champion a cause.

    “It was clear that traders and residents were fed up with the time it was taking the local authority to deal with this unpleasant problem.”

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