Monday, September 08, 2008

Cream Of The Crap

You'll recall that regular reader Samantha, the East Cliff's caped crusader when it comes taking the authorities to task for their woeful inability to keep the streets visible beneath the mountains of detritus left by litter louts and council operatives, has had a wasp in her bonnet recently over the state of Augusta Road and its environs.

Last month I published a letter she received from the council wallahs on Uranus, which basically said the mess was everyone else's fault bar the, er, council's. She has since progressed her complaint via Thanet South MP Dr Steve Ladyman, and has now received a slightly more action orientated response from the same aforementioned Uranians, viz:

Our inspections indicated that the source of litter in the area is primarily from dumped bags of rubbish. The area also suffers from gulls attacking poorly contained refuse which is prevalent at this time of year. I have tasked a driver to clear dumped rubbish on a daily basis this should be done by about 0900. We will also be looking at sweeping the area as close to refuse collection as possible, however at the present time our resources are stretched with beach cleaning and covering staff holidays.

Additionally I have requested that our enforcement team take some action in the area with a view to prosecuting offenders.

Hmm, so it seems at least some effort will be made to prevent the East Cliff drowning in discarded nappies and rotting food. But as Samantha points out in her email to me, it's still only sticking plaster remedies, and it's still liberally littered with excuses. What is actually required is some blue sky thinking (eurgh!!) to come up with a lasting solution for an area that the council has, for reasons only known to itself, deemed unfit for wheelie bins. Ideas on the usual postcard please!


Michael Child said...

Back in the 60s and 70s when we had a guest house in Augusta road the rubbish was collected from the service road behind so the road never got in a mess, as there was plenty of room for dustbins no gull problems either.

Cllr David Green said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cllr David Green said...

This is by far the most frequent complaint that I report to the Council.
To give credit, the operatives do usually respond and do visit the worst hotspots on a regular basis.
As you comment though this does not tackle the source of the problem and still means that the liquid residue from the refuse stains the pavements.
The "solution" I have proposed is one used elswhere in the country. That is the location of two large industrial wheelie bins (for household and recycleable) at various on-street sites. (I estimate 4 sites in Augusta for example). THese to be empltied as frequently as necessary, minimum weekly. So far no response from the Council, but I wondered what you and/or local readers thought.

Eastcliff Richard said...

It would certainly be a step in the right direction DG.

These industrial wheelie bins work well on the continent in areas that are densely populated. That said, there is probably more of a sense of community in those foreign parts than there would appear to be here on the East Cliff. It would only take one, er, bright spark to get busy with the Bryant and Mays and I suspect there'd be a whole new leisure pursuit for the local scallies to enjoy!

Many of the properties in Augusta Road appear to have been converted into flats or bedsits and it's difficult to see how such an itinerant population would grow to have any sense of respect for or pride in their locality. When I trundle past there are frequently discarded household goods on the streets - old tellies, mattresses, chairs, tables, even fridges and washing machines. It surprises me that people can even think that's an acceptable way of disposing of these items. The fact that the council comes round and clears them up is great, but it only seems to encourage further abuse. You leave your knackered old fridge on the street et voila! It's gone the next day!

Perhaps a programme of education is required here? Visits by council officers to HMOs to ensure people know it is an offence to fly tip domestic goods on the streets would be a start. And maybe some very large signs, as they have in other local authorities, promising fines of up to £50,000 for dumping!

Anonymous said...

I still think the best solution is to make everyone responsible for clearing the strip of pavement in front of their house - therefore you could be liable if someone slipped on a banana skin or patch of ice outside your front door.

Maisiegrace said...

I agree with ECR. If we 'educate' people that large items of rubbish are automatically collected then we are making a rod for our own back. Vehicle owners may be able to take some of this stuff to the tip but residents in this type of area do not always have cars. Surely counter-education and a zero-tolerance policy is what is needed?

Anonymous said...

I live just a couple of streets away and its always the same, seagulls and cats ripping into the bags. The large bins would help the problem, but as ECR points out, it could be the start of a new one. I would also hazard a guess that if the bin is full that some not-so-bright spark would simply leave their rubbish atop or beside it. As the majority of the problem is to do with broken black sacks, perhaps the council could offset the cost of future clean up visits by men and truck with the provision of tough black sacks (most people appear to use rather flimsy ones), or even wheelie bins.


Anonymous said...

Mmm. I just wonder if their sudden leap into action has anything to do with the "Place Survey" which all councils are going to be sending to their residents this Autumn. The results are pretty important to the overall council rating from the Audit Commission and the questions are all about "look and feel" - perception of tidiness, anti social behaviour etc.

Expect lots more knee-jerking between now and then !!!

Peter Checksfield said...

Cllr Green, I live in a small road in Westbrook, & over the last few years we've had two of those large industrial sized bins. They are empited several times per week, & have greatly reduced the garbage problem here (only the lazy or infirm don't use them). So they obviously work.

Lil~Miss~Lunatic said...

I'm so glad that I moved out of Augusta rd last week, I lived in one of the basement flats and not only did most of the rubbish end up outside my front door due to over-enthusiastic seagulls but people used to actually drop or throw their litter down my stairs too, one week I refused to clean up and within 3 days we had 14 cigarette packets, 6 lager cans and a McDonalds burger box all paving the way to my door. It looked horrific. I think the idea of the bins is a great idea but how long until they get "chaved over" and destroyed??

Anonymous said...

"I still think the best solution is to make everyone responsible for clearing the strip of pavement in front of their house - therefore you could be liable if someone slipped on a banana skin or patch of ice outside your front door."

I live round the corner from Augusta Road, and I already clean all the shit that the local 'tards leave on my doorstep every frigging night as they stagger home from the pub. (Not to mention the daily episodes of "Drunken Argument Street Theatre Company")

The only thing your suggestion would lead to, would be the local idiots leaving their crap in front of houses where people who give a shit live, leaving us to clean up their shit as usual. I would then be liable if someone slipped on a KFC carton left outside my house while I am sleeping? Gee, that sounds fair...

When we lived in Scotland for a while, we had a wheelie bin scheme which worked fine despite fortnightly collections.

I have also lived in Sweden for a while, and there you dumped rubbish in collection points in the form of locked sheds with two chutes leading to wheeled skips - one for recycling and one for household refuse. The collection people had skeleton keys to the sheds and just backed up, hooked the trucks to the skips and upended them. Collection was done twice weekly and people, even in very underprivileged areas, were conscientious recyclers and kept the area around the chutes clean.

This has been solved successfully and painlessly in other parts of the world: why is it so hard here?

In our little corner of the problem area, we have with joint effort conditioned the seagulls to avoid our bin-pile on collection day by chasing them off every single time (at least until we have to go to work, hoping someone else takes over), spraying the bin bags with bleach and those of us using the thicker bin bags piling ours on top to shield the flimsier ones. This took effort, and someone giving a crap. Maybe this made the gulls all the more vociferous around the corner?

I have two wishes: that council would target Augusta Road to find out who is dumping all that rubbish and that there would be a joint effort from council and residents to gull-proof roofs the area. Gull proofing is neither complicated, nor very expensive, but it only works if everyone does it. Not providing them with comfortable places to live is a humane way of getting them to f*** off somewhere else. I'm talking about the gulls here, of course.