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After the Place Check, a meeting is held in which short term objectives are set which residents themselves can achieve, and everyone is given a particular job. This may involve starting a neighbourhood watch or a scheme to improve front gardens or tackle litter. It is also hoped that the group will stay together in the longer term to pressure the local authority to improve street furniture or road safety, for example.

The aim will be to invite the ward councillor to visit the street to discuss what needs to be done and how the local authority can help. The ICE is already engaging with the Association of London Government and the Local Government Association on how PlaceChecks can be promoted.

A successfull group is more likely to stay together, leading to a formal street agreement stating who is going to improve what and how it is going to be funded.

The plan is to end up with a spate of PlaceChecked street parties coinciding with the Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations from 1-4 June next year.

'We hope we can keep PlaceChecks going and keeping the pace up will be vital, ' says Huxford. 'The key will be to identify quick easy wins early on which will encourage people, and avoiding confrontations early on.'

The plan is ambitious and the contribution of civil engineers will be crucial to ensure better streets become a reality and that an initiative that sounds exciting is saved from falling flat on its face.

'We will be fighting people's convictions that nothing can be done, ' says Huxford, 'Even down to planting a tree.' He is worried that professionals will shun the initiative because of the lack of investment in UK streets, which has led to a £5bn road maintenance backlog. But if PlaceCheck does its job it will raise awareness and win more funding for our streets, Huxford insists.

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