STEVE REED, the MP for Croydon North, explains why he’s organised a commission to examine the grotty state of the borough’s streets, and how Croydon Council has broken its social contract with residents and businesses
There is a litter crisis in Croydon North.
Litter and the filthy state of local streets is the issue that people raise most frequently at my regular public meetings. People complain about unswept streets, dumped rubbish piled up high, overflowing wheelie bins, dog mess and graffiti.
One woman in Thornton Heath told me the situation was so bad she feels ashamed to invite friends and relatives to visit her home. No one should be left to feel like that about where they live. A senior business leader stated in public that the filthy state of Croydon’s streets deters investment that could bring desperately needed jobs into the area.
People in Croydon pay one of the highest rates of council tax in London, but Croydon Council can’t keep the streets clean. This can’t go on.
I’m as fed up as everyone else at the council’s failure to respond to residents’ complaints about the state of our streets. The council seems unable to understand the scale of the problem and incapable of acting to improve the sub-standard street-cleaning service they run.
This week I’ve set up an independent commission to probe what’s going wrong and how it can be put right. The commission, chaired by local community leader Nero Ughwujabo, will listen to residents, businesses and community organisations to find out just how bad the problem has become, what’s causing it and, crucially, what needs to happen to clean up local streets. The final report will be presented to Croydon Council before the end of the year, and it will include clear recommendations for action.
Neighbouring boroughs, with populations and housing very similar to Croydon North, are visibly cleaner. The leafy south of our own borough looks much better kept than the neglected north. Of course, it’s not only the council’s failing services that are at fault – after all, it’s not the council that drops the litter in the first place. But the council has broken its side of the implicit social contract by letting the streets get so filthy that too many people no longer care about dropping their own litter into the dirty environment they see around them.
Where the council is clearly at fault is in imposing a fortnightly collection service on a densely populated community, which often leaves the bins overflowing. They do not consistently prosecute the worst-offending fly tippers. They don’t serve enough clean-up notices on households that use their front gardens as dumping grounds. They don’t tackle the grot spots that regularly attract piles of dumped rubbish.
Keeping the streets clean is a basic council service that other councils do far better. It’s time to tell Croydon’s Tory council that local people won’t put up with their rubbish services any longer.
- Croydon in 2013: The Garbage Gallery revisited
- Council announces street clean-up – just in time for elections
- Fly tipping more than doubled in Croydon since 2010
- Dirty Croydon: “I’m ashamed of the dirty state of my road”
- Croydon in a Pickles again over its rubbish service
Coming to Croydon
- The Firebird, family concert: Oct 20
- Lakes Playground group’s fundraising Zumba-ween: Oct 26
- PJ’s enterprising look at Black History Month: Oct 29
- Secret Love at the Ashcroft Theatre: Nov 14
- Future Tech City: Nov 30
- Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough – 262,183 page views (Jan-Jun 2013)
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