I RECENTLY posted a video on an eyesore – a derelict cabin on the railway sidings as you enter Doncaster by train.
I was, to say the least, surprised by the amount of publicity it received – 35,000 views and counting, and a double page spread in Doncaster Free Press. It caused quite a lot of noise, some of it negative.
Some were inventive and put Compo and Nora Batty living in the cabin. Comments such as, “If he thinks that’s the worst problem with Doncaster...” and “What about all the rubbish in the streets and the down and outs?”, were aplenty and repeated in the local paper.
But my reasoning behind this post was simple. First impressions last and what starts in life as a poor attitude usually continues. I’ll explain both.
If you were going for a job interview or going on a date, would you a) look your best or b) turn up scruffy. I’m pretty sure we all would say a). So, what does the cabin say to all our visitors when they first arrive? Not very much I would think.
Now would you expect to get the job or have a second date? Would you expect people to buy into you? No, and neither would I. So why should an investor or visitor buy into our town?
I know there are many further issues in the town centre but Doncaster Central is not my constituency. I was there to meet a Rail Minister whom I had invited. My Don Valley constituents do use Doncaster and will benefit. So that is why I called it out.
Secondly, I believe, the first bit of rubbish in your car or the first weed in your garden is symptomatic of what is to follow. A filthy car and an overgrown garden. Neglect starts with a poor attitude and usually continues.
The cabin may not be the first piece of rubbish in Doncaster, the first neglected building, but you get my meaning. So we do need the cabin to go, we need the run-down buildings in Edlington and Thorne to be dealt with.
We need the beggars to be dealt with (by the way they are, slowly), the streets to be clean and the shops full of people. The list goes on but at least a list has been started.
The cabin has been there for over 25 years. Why it has never been mentioned before? The answer is not good to hear. Until now no-one seems to have been bothered, no-one seems to have cared.
If you know of a building that’s an eyesore let me know. It is important. I want people to come and see Doncaster, invest in it, and love it as I do.
But most of all I want its community to love it.