Community leaders get together for online discussion about Nunsthorpe estate
NUNSTHORPE united in a discussion on how to improve the lives of residents on the Grimsby estate.
The Grimsby Telegraph Editor's Online Debate attracted more contributors than any debate in the past.
It followed on from the ITV Exposure: Driven From Home documentary which focussed on the daily lives and problems faced by people living in Nunsthorpe.
About 800 people logged on and more than 250 contributed.
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As people expressed their opinions and asked questions of a panel of community leaders, the editor Michelle Lalor, stood in for David Dimbleby, Question Time-style, and presided over the debate, typing in the panel members' answers.
Among the panel members was Grimsby MP Austin Mitchell.
He was joined by acting chief inspector of police in North East Lincolnshire, Will Jenkins, North East Lincolnshire Council safer and stronger communities service manager Spencer Hunt, council colleague Steve Kay, head of integrated youth support services, Colin Lomas, antisocial behaviour community services manager for North East Lincolnshire Council, Nunsthorpe community champion Steve Hill and Andy Everett, crime reduction manager for North East Lincolnshire.
Ms Lalor said: "It was good to get the relevant community leaders and MP together for the discussion.
"I apologise to some of the people who did not get their questions answered. We shall pass them all on and attempt to get them answered by the relevant people."
Many of the questions centred on the role of Shoreline Housing Partnership, who also answered questions from its HQ.
The social housing company owns less than half of the properties on Nunsthorpe, and none of the properties shown in the documentary, which were targeted or shown as boarded up, belong to Shoreline.
Readers also wanted to know the prospects for a new community hub at the redundant St Mary's Catholic School, on Wootton Road.
Some joining in the debate questioned why community group Nunsthorpe Together had not paid the bill for the use of St Martin's Church Hall which, as reported yesterday, has left them facing possible closure.
Steve Hill said the church had gone on record on TV stating the group was given the premises "rent-free".
He urged anyone who questioned the finances of the group to contact the chairman, Roger Douglas.
He said a firm of accountants – Duncan Topliss, of Louth – was responsible for auditing the group's accounts.
One of the online contributors 'Loispeters' asked: "So why can't the police and Government and every-one else have a zero tolerance approach to these thugs?
Mr Mitchell said: "We need a bigger police force to apply zero tolerance. This is a national question."
Spencer Hunt replied: "Zero tolerance deals with the symptoms not the cause. We must start tackling the causes of these. Governments have tried to tackle it, but it is not easy to answer."
A guest on the online debate said: "I have lived on Nunsthorpe Estate for nearly four years and find it a nice place to live. Admittedly, there are some areas where houses are boarded up and gardens are used as dumping grounds, but these can be found any where in Grimsby. I find, in general, the people are great – I certainly am not looking to leave the estate.
Mr Hunt said: "Statistically, Nunsthorpe is not the worst estate in our area. We need to look at every area individually and harness what is good in each area and work alongside each other. The answer lies with the community itself."
Steve Hill said: "The programme did say Nunsthorpe was not the worst area – but it highlighted issues.
"We are here today and a lot of people have done a lot of hard work. Where we are today is far away from where we were years ago.
"We should be proud of what we have done on Nunsthorpe – we are in a better place than what we were two or three years ago."
In response to a question about powers to force thugs out, Chief Inspector Jenkins said: "Humberside Police and Shoreline are going to discuss to see if they can adopt a similar process as they do in North Lincolnshire, which is to put provisions on tenancy agreements which acknowledges that the occupant will not commit crime or disorder offences, and if they do they will be evicted."
He said there was a policing team for South ward with two dedicated police officers and eight PCSOs. He urged anyone with information about crime or antisocial behaviour to contact them on 101 or contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
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