I READ with interest the Daily Echo story (June 9) of how the council is set to fund £30 k on a new image.

Has the message not got through to the civic fathers, and it has been aired many times in the Daily Echo letters column, that Southampton desperately needs a major clean and tidy up?

Overgrown verges, pothole peppered roads and littered streets – it is an utter disgrace and a terrible advert to those who daily step on and off cruise ships.

This latest idea by the council – no doubt conjured up after a series of costly meetings – is surely putting the cart before the horse.

Councillor Dan Fitzhenry hit the nail on the head when he said: “We can’t tell the world how great we are as a city if people can’t get around and the city looks a mess.”

The city's cleanliness and infrastructure should come first before we start putting our story out to the world.

Once we have tidied up the city – and it would take many months if not years just to tackle the condition of footpaths, verges and roads in my area – we need to look at the way we are going to pay for this hard sell of Southampton.

Surely we have enough people in the council’s communications department and rattling around the civic centre to come up with a new “story” for Southampton without splashing thousands of pounds of hard earned council taxpayers’ money on employing a consultant PR company.

The story of Southampton and what it can offer has surely been well chronicled and it is better told by people on the ground rather than some PR company from up north.

Over the years local government has spent millions of pounds on consultants when they could use in house skills.

We are paying enough council tax to shore up over the top salaries for senior council officers as well as subsidising generous town hall pensions.

In this continuing age of austerity it is about time we halted the consultants' gravy train and our own council staff told the 'new story' of Southampton.