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Councillor lashes out on blight of fly-tipping

Anti-social louts ‘are turning countryside into furniture graveyard’

CITY councillor Mike Sole has lashed out at fly-tippers who are blighting the countryside around Canterbury, accusing them of turning the area into “a furniture graveyard”. The Lib Dem representative for Barham Downs said people in his constituency were “fed up” with all the old furniture and other rubbish being left by the wayside in the district’s rural areas.

Incidents

He also argued that the district was becoming “the destination of choice” for fly-tippers, after more than 2,000 reported incidents of fly-tipping in a single year. He said:

“Local people are fed up with the countryside being treated as a dumping ground by fly-tipping tourists, coming from outside the area to leave their waste. It is turning our countryside, much of it Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, into a furniture graveyard, and more must be done to quickly remove it, catch and punish offenders. The city council say that incidents should be cleared within 24 to 48 hours, but this is clearly not the case and we need a more proactive waste removal service.”

There were 852,000 recorded incidents of fly-tipping in 2013-14 in Canterbury, an increase of 20 per cent on the previous year. Last year, fly-tipping cost Canterbury City Council £42,499 to clear up, but only led to £930 being levied in fines. Serco is the contractor which disposes of household waste in the area. Its local contract manager Geoff Dunne said:

“While the number of fly-tipping incidents have reduced in the eight months from April to the end of November 2014 compared to the previous year, we continue to take fly-tipping very seriously and aim to remove waste from public land within 24 hours. It is a criminal offence to fly-tip and, where enforcement action is taken, it can result in a maximum fine of £50,000 or six months in prison. We would like to remind residents that we operate a bulky waste collection service on behalf of the council. To report fly-tipping or to arrange a bulky waste collection, please visit Canterbury City Council’s website, send an e-mail to environmentathelpdesk@canterburyserco.com or call us on 0800 031 9091.”

Residents win clean-up for ‘eyesore’ site

CANTERBURY City Council has finally taken the decision to clean up one of the worst fly-tipping sites in the city, after a petition from local residents. The former site of the Sturry Road Social Club was set aside for development. But it has become a hotbed for antisocial behaviour, drug taking, and arson, and has been described as “a disgusting fly tip” by campaigner Jean Butcher. After receiving a petition signed by dozens of local residents, the city council has responded by organising a clean-up of the area. In the end, it took five council vehicles to clear away all the rubbish that had accumulated on the site. City councillor Alan Baldock, the Labour representative for the area, said residents could “celebrate their success as a community. He added:

“The old Sturry Road Social Club site is now cleaner and a little safer at least for now. Residents can breathe a sigh of relief, but they will no doubt always feel let down by their council’s failure to appreciate or care just how bad the situation was. They have achieved a victory which is justly theirs, but it should never have come to this. A question that remains unanswered still is that of a long term use for this precious community land, so much part of Northgate’s history. Over two years ago in November 2012 this Conservative-controlled council agreed to make the land available for desperately-needed social housing, proposing small bungalows ideal for older people. To date they have failed to deliver.”

A city council spokesman said it no longer owned the site in question, and it was now controlled by a local housing association, which is responsible for its maintenance. The site is under the ownership of CDS Co-operative Housing Association.

Herne Bay Times, January 7th 2015

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