Leading Article: Mean city streets to let

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The Independent Online
KIRKLEES COUNCIL in West Yorkshire is organising bus tours around two of its "hard-to-let" housing estates to try to drum up the interest of would-be tenants. As a marketing ploy it's imaginative. Perhaps next time the estates could be asked to put on a display of joy-riding followed by a crotchet exhibition by the local (single) mothers' union. Tourism might not work, however, on those estates where a police escort and outriders are needed to stop the youth having the tyres off your vehicle in five seconds.

And yet maybe Kirklees' example does have something to offer other public services . Most could be marketed much more effectively. Wouldn't it be refreshing - however unlikely it may be - to have the National Health Service inviting the public in to sample food prepared in hospital kitchens or test the salubrious (and empty!) waiting-rooms in their accident and emergency departments. It's true that some schools do now open their doors to would-be parents, just as some nicks, fire stations and refuse disposal plants have open days in order to impress the public with their efficiency. Some services, however, are designed to repel. It would not do to arrange scenic tours round Parkhurst or Durham jails - unless visitors emerged vowing never to darken their doors again.

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