Croydon’s rubbish council: the 2014 Garbage Gallery

MAY 10 UPDATE: The essence of this feature has been a graphic representation of the continuing extent of fly-tipping on our streets.

Now, thanks to another Freedom of Information request and some hard work by Inside Croydon’s loyal reader, here’s a few more graphic representations: graphs, of the growing number of reported cases of fly-tipping…

Fly-tipping in Ashburton 2009-2013

Here’s the figures for Ashburton. Or “Trashburton” as it might be called after the sitting Conservative councillors have managed to preside over a near-400 per cent increase in the levels of rubbish left on the streets there in four years.

There’s a similarly rubbish picture from across the borough.

Like here, in Fairfield.

Fairfield fly-tippingThe nice people at Westfield and Hammerson must be delighted to learn that they are investing £1 billion in an area where so much rubbish is dumped on the streets.

Tory Councillor Vidhi Mohan: does he deserve to be re-elected?

Tory Councillor Vidhi Mohan: does he deserve to be re-elected?

Maybe they ought to be asking the sitting councillors for that ward, such as Tory cabinet member Vidhi Mohan, to explain how matters on their patch have managed to get so bad?

The picture… well graph… is little different elsewhere in a borough where our Council Tax has continued to rise since the Tories took control in 2006 – they avoid mentioning the 1.9 per cent hike, the maximum allowed under law, in 2013, for instance – but while at the same time our services have been reduced, such as our bin collections have been halved and, as the evidence suggests, our streets are much less well-kept.

For instance, take Kenley…

Kenley fly-tippingThere, one of the councillors is Steve O’Connell, dubbed by the Daily Mail as “Britain’s highest paid local councillor” because of the public cash that he’s been trousering from also having jobs at City Hall as a London Assembly Member, for several years amounting to more than £100,000. Not bad for a glorified mortgage salesman.

Tory councillor Steve O'Connell: does he deserve your vote on May 22, or another four years on the expenses gravy train?

Tory councillor Steve O’Connell: does he deserve your vote on May 22, or another four years on the expenses gravy train?

It is not unreasonable for Council Tax-payers to ask what it is that O’Connell does for all that money.

Hence Inside Croydon has called “Britain’s most over-paid local councillor”.

Of course, part of the reason the likes of Tory councillor O’Connell is able to take the voters for granted in the local elections is because he was fortunate to be selected by his party to represent a ward which is staunchly Conservative blue.

That’s not the case in the borough’s most marginal ward, Waddon.

There, one of the sitting councillors opted not to stand again because she was frit of losing her cushty council post.

And rumours persist among local Tories to suggest that the cabinet member Simon “I’m Cheap But I’m Not Free” Hoar asked to be allowed to seek selection in a much safer Conservative ward in the south of the borough, but had his escape plan thwarted.

Waddon fly-tippingHoar might have spent his time better getting the streets of Waddon cleaned, rather than trying to cover his own political arse.

MAY 9 UPDATE: Another batch of examples of how our borough continues to attract fly-tippers, who act with apparent impunity from risk of prosecution.

Norwood Junction, May 4

Norwood Junction, May 4


Norwood Junction, May 4

Norwood Junction, May 4

  • Have you spotted “Piles” of unsightly mess in your neighbourhood?
  • Have you reported rubbish strewn across a local street and not had effective action by Croydon Council?
  • Have you tried using their flawed MyCroydon App, and it failed to work?
  • To contribute to the Garbage Gallery, send your pictures, with a note of the time, date and location, to, marking the subject field “Garbage Gallery 2014″.

MAY 3 UPDATE: Not for the first time, Vidhi Mohan, the Tory councillor in Fairfield ward, has been spouting a load of old rubbish.

Yesterday, Steve Reed OBE, Labour’s MP for Lambeth South, joined in with his party’s local campaign in Croydon by posting a couple of pictures that he feels illustrates the shabby state of the borough’s streets.

Such as this:

This is what residents' bins look like with Croydon opting for fortnightly collections, says MP Steve Reed OBE

This is what residents’ bins look like with Croydon opting for fortnightly collections, says MP Steve Reed OBE

As Reed pointed out, the Tories who control Croydon Town Hall and who are charging residents record levels of Council Tax, turned down a £1 million grant from central government to maintain a weekly bin collection service.

But they thought that they knew better than Eric Pickles, the Conservative-led Government’s minister who offered the extra cash to maintain service levels, and instead the local Tories insisted on providing the people of Croydon with only half the residential bin collection service that they used to receive. And, based on all evidence seen since, only half the bin collection service which the people of Croydon clearly require.

Reed also posted another image to illustrate his point.

This one…

The second image posted by MP Steve Reed OBE on May 2

The second image posted on Twitter by MP Steve Reed OBE on May 2

It is a shabby sight that sadly is all-too-familiar to residents of Croydon in 2014.

Many consider that it sets the tone for attitudes to the state of our streets. It is clearly the consequence of the current council’s policies.

Four years ago, when seeking re-election to the Town Hall, the Conservatives in Croydon made no mention of any intention to halve the bin collection service. For some reason best known to themselves, they kept that a secret.

But they did include a pledge to make recycling across the borough compulsory.

Some local Tories also promised that they would oppose any plans to build a massive waste incinerator “in or on the borders” of Croydon. You’ve probably seen the leaflets that they handed out four years ago. It turned out to be yet more rubbish from Croydon’s politicians, some of whom seem to regard the Town Hall as little more than a stepping stone to their own personal ambitions.

Soon after the last local elections in 2010, all the Tories on Croydon Council voted in favour of Viridor building a voracious waste incinerator at Beddington Lane. Which makes their councillors in Waddon – Simon “I’m Cheap But I’m Not Free” Hoar, Tony Harris and Clare “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow” Hilley, liars. Hilley has opted not to stand for re-election in battleground ward Waddon, apparently concerned that she might lose.

The pollution-spewing incinerator, which will cost Croydon and three other south London boroughs £1 billion over the course of a 25-year contract, will need to be fed with thousands of tons of rubbish, from Croydon and across south-east England, hour after hour, day after day.

And that rubbish for the incinerator has got to come from somewhere…

The local Tories also seem to have a rubbish memory. Because around the time they were voting through the plans for an incinerator which will blight the health of generations of people living in the borough, Croydon’s Tories seem to have forgotten altogether about their policy of compulsory recycling schemes for the borough. They certainly avoid mentioning it.

Except for Vidhi Mohan, who is rapidly acquiring a reputation for talking a great deal of rubbish.

The councillor for Fairfield ward clearly has an inflated view of his own political abilities, since he apparently harbours ambitions to be the Conservative candidate in Croydon North when the General Election is held next year. Steve Reed OBE had a 12,000 majority when he won the seat at a by-election in November 2012.

Wonder what the voters of Croydon North might make, then, of Mohan’s response to Reed, via Twitter, when the bins pictures were posted yesterday: “Perhaps you could help educate your constituents to recycle more. Would have certainly reduced the volumes in those bins”.

  • Croydon Tories’ compulsory recycling policy? Binned.
  • No incinerator on the borders of Croydon? Binned.
  • Weekly residential rubbish collections? Binned.

And all despite charging residents of Croydon record amounts of Council Tax.

South Croydon, Apr 20 2014

South Croydon, Apr 20 2014

APRIL 26 UPDATE: Fed up with tip-toeing your way around the crap and detritus that is left to fester on our streets?

Inside Croydon’s loyal reader certainly is.

In our update of April 18, we related the complaint of a South Croydon resident, who had noticed breeding Tribbles on Ledbury Road.

“Tribbles”? They are the black bin bags that appear, mysteriously, and then under the cover of darkness multiply next to the first piece of discarded rubbish on the streets, seemingly a living example of “broken window syndrome”, from which large parts of our borough suffers because of the neglect by our council, and its failure to prosecute fly-tippers.

On Ledbury Road, first it was a discarded mattress. Our council thought it would be a cost-cutting wheeze to start charging a fee for the removal of bulky items. So instead of paying more on top of our record levels of Council Tax, many people have been opting to dump the bulky item on the street. There’s little or no risk of ever getting caught. And eventually the council’s contractors have to come along and take the dumped item anyway, and no charge for the dumper. Just a bigger bill for Council Tax-payers. Simples.

But after a couple of days on the pavement, the Ledbury Road mattress attracted more rubbish. The Tribbles. First a bin bag. Then another couple. By the time we wandered along to view the site two days later, the pile of rubbish on this street corner by one of our prestigious high streets had grown right across the pavement.

The picture above was taken three days after our loyal reader had reported the dump to the council.

The picture below was taken a day later after the dump had been reported, and was submitted by our loyal reader.

Ledbury Road, Apr 21 2014

Ledbury Road, Apr 18 2014

The rubbish, the multiplying Tribbles had been tidied up a bit, the pavement cleared to allow pedestrians to walk past without stepping into the path of an oncoming vehicle. And it looks as if the pavement has been swept (a bit).

But over the course of four days, the rubbish was not cleared away.

Will anyone be clearing away the rubbish after May 22?

  • Have you spotted “Piles” of unsightly mess in your neighbourhood?
  • Have you reported rubbish strewn across a local street and not had effective action by Croydon Council?
  • Have you tried using their flawed MyCroydon App, and it failed to work?
  • To contribute to the Garbage Gallery, send your pictures, with a note of the time, date and location, to, marking the subject field “Garbage Gallery 2014″.

APRIL 23 UPDATE: “Have you reported it to the council”, is the favoured refrain of Conservative candidates for the local elections when residents have the (perceived) audacity even to mention the wretched state of Croydon’s streets. It’s a ploy to try to distract from the failings of the current council, which has halved the frequency of bin collections and cut the budget for keeping our streets properly swept, while also allowing the contractors to monitor their own performance (seriously).

But there was not much need to report this pile of crap to the council, as there it was this morning, festering on the High Street’s pavement to greet commuters on their way to work or people arriving in the centre of Croydon, a few yards from the Town Hall itself.

Croydon High Street, April 23

Croydon High Street, April 23

This pile of bin bags – left out in the hope that the council’s contractors might pass along at some point and clear away? – clearly contains commercial rubbish, including cooking oil cans, probably from some of the fast-food joints and other shops nearby.

It hardly creates the positive impression of Croydon which those in charge of the council and their Glee Club supporters would have us all believe.

Meanwhile, in the north of the borough, the “epidemic of fly-tipping” continues.

Our loyal reader sent us this, from Brigstock Road, Thornton Heath, which according to the Tories who run the council is getting adequate resources to deal with refuge collection.

Brigstock Road, Thornton Heath, April 21

Brigstock Road, Thornton Heath, April 21

APRIL 22 UPDATE: Still the rubbish continues to pile up.

Indeed, over a four-day bank holiday weekend, with the council’s call centre now operating only on business hours on week days and with the council website down for “essential maintenance work” (who do they think they are? Southern Rail?) over the Easter weekend, the opportunities for residents to report incidents of fly tipping and the like have been much more restricted.

Thank goodness people can email their pictures to Inside Croydon’s Garbage Gallery or Tweet to us @insidecroydon.

This is what Edward Wentworth-Shaw, an independent candidate in Selhurst in next month’s local elections, found on the streets of his ward over the weekend. Close to a school, too…

Rubbish dumped close to a school in Selhurst, April 21 2014

Rubbish dumped close to a school in Selhurst, April 21 2014


It is worth noting the large number of orange bags, distributed by Veolia, the council’s rubbish contractors, which adorn the discarded sofa. There’s a daily reminder of how “broken window syndrome” really does work: one piece of dumped rubbish on the pavement attracts ever more discarded items if they are allowed to fester.

And with Croydon Council’s abysmal record for prosecuting sly fly-tippers, the practice continues because there appears to be no risk of sanction.

APRIL 18 UPDATE: And there is, of course, more. There’s always more.

The corner of Warrington Road and Epsom Road, Apr 16 2014

The corner of Warrington Road and Epsom Road, Apr 16 2014

This is something of a commonplace around the streets of the borough, and is a particular problem in those areas with multi-occupier properties – such as when there are flats above high street shops, when the occupants have no proper provision to store their waste until collection day, which of course is now only once a fortnight.

It is not an issue confined to the north of the borough, either.

Our loyal reader wrote in yesterday: “I live by Ledbury Road, South Croydon. Through my time here we have had a wondrous collection of items left on the street corner by one store. Last week, someone left an entire wardrobe there. Not the actual wardrobe, just a massive pile of clothes.

“Only on Monday was there a sofa, a full-sized corner sofa, easily 7ft long, in a fetching blue leather. This gathered its friends, the black bin bags (I call them Tribbles), to keep it company.

“That went on Tuesday night. Someone was clearly after a sofa and took it, leaving some of its friends behind.

“On Wednesday, the Tribbles had multiplied and by the time I got back from work at midnight, the Tribbles had not only doubled, they had spawned a mattress.

“It is now Thursday and the Tribbles are multiplying again.”

A dumped old sofa and assorted crap, photographed in Ashburton on Apr 13

A dumped old sofa and assorted crap, photographed in Ashburton on Apr 13

Ahh, the dumped unwanted furniture. This has become a noticeable problem since the council, in its wisdom, decided to save money by charging residents to remove bulky items.

So what do people do? Instead of calling the council and paying the charge, they dump the unwanted furniture and leave it to another resident to call the council, which then has to send out a truck to take away the fly-tipped item. No charge is ever levied, just an extra cost incurred for Council Tax-payers. A lose-lose for Croydon.

More genius from the policy-makers in Katharine Street.

APRIL 16 UPDATE: Did anyone mention crap?

Lloyd Park, April 14 2014

Lloyd Park, April 15 2014

This was the state of one of the dog shit bins in Lloyd Park yesterday, which according to local rugby and athletics coach and all-round good chap, Femi Oresanya, had been left unemptied by the council’s contractors for at least three weeks.

This crap service may be the result of having a contractor, such as Veolia, whose work is usually monitored by… Veolia.

This disgusting sight, and health risk, in one of the borough’s fine parks is not something that can be readily reported to the council. The council’s phone bank for enquiries is now closed over the weekend and outside office hours, and the lacklustre smartphone app which the council has released does not provide an option for complaints about contractor performance (how convenient).

So Oresanya tweeted a picture of the over-spilling bin @InsideCroydon.

And a day later, this is what he was able to put out on Twitter:

Lloyd Park, Apr 16 2014: after the state of the bin had been tweeted

Lloyd Park, Apr 16 2014: after the state of the bin had been tweeted

So, sending your garbage complaints to Inside Croydon works. But as Oresanya says, “It shouldn’t take a tweet to get the bins emptied.”

APRIL 15 UPDATE: Our loyal reader’s been in touch again, this time with potentially embarrassing evidence of Croydon Tories actively providing some of the rubbish that routinely blights the borough’s streets.

Look carefully at the crap on the pavement, and you’ll see that the centrepiece is an election leaflet issued by the three-man Conservative candidate team in Waddon.

Apparently, the discarded Tory election leaflet had spilled out of the bin beside a bus stop on Warham Road. It ought to leave council leader Mike Fisher more red-faced than usual.

Rubbish picture - Apr 12 Warham Road (338x450)

MARCH 31 UPDATE: Our loyal reader has been out and about again in the borough, this time in Waddon. It does not make for a pretty scene.

Waddon, Monday March 31, 2014

Waddon, Monday March 31, 2014

According to Croydon’s Tory-run council (track record: 1 per cent of prosecutions brought in fly-tipping cases in the last year), they’re getting tough with fly-tippers. Yet there appears to be a problem with the council’s street scene enforcement when it comes to knocking on some residents’ front doors.

MARCH 30: Inside Croydon’s loyal reader has been back in touch, after a morning stroll in SE25.

Merton Road, Sunday March 30 2014

Merton Road, Sunday March 30 2014

“This is a normal Saturday night/Sunday morning in Merton Road,” our reader says.

“Despite there being daily dumping, I have been wisely advised by Croydon Council that this is not a ‘hotspot’ for fly-tipping, despite residents continually complaining, Croydon Council says it has no records of this being a problem area.

“I can only assume that all emails and phone calls to the council are put straight into the delete bin. It’s a shame that Croydon can’t be as quick at dealing with dumped rubbish as they can be at fobbing off Council Tax-payers who are paying for all of this to be picked up.”

Merton Road, SE25, Sunday March 30, 2014

Merton Road, SE25, Sunday March 30, 2014

  • Have you spotted “Piles” of unsightly mess in your neighbourhood?
  • Have you reported rubbish strewn across a local street and not had effective action by Croydon Council?
  • Have you tried using their flawed MyCroydon App, and it failed to work?
  • To contribute to the Garbage Gallery, send your pictures, with a note of the time, date and location, to, marking the subject field “Garbage Gallery 2014″.

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
This entry was posted in 2014 council elections, Council Tax, Croydon Council, Fly tipping, Refuse collection, Selhurst and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Croydon’s rubbish council: the 2014 Garbage Gallery

  1. A very attractive shrub appears above the fence in that first photograph.

    • catswiskas says:

      Yes, Terry. It appears to be a very expressive Forsythia, if I’m not mistaken. I didn’t notice it until you pointed it out. What a shame, that all that cr*p on the pavement distracts us from the beauty of nature.

      I blame the dumper more than the council. What is wrong with the human race these days?

      • It is the proliferation of very small flats with no space for bins at the same time as cutting bin collections which has created this problem.

        There is a picture of Ledbury Road waste above, the pile of waste is refreshed every day by new deposits, even from local shops because people have been allowed to extend premises (particularly along Ledbury Place) without any provision for bins. There are various other locations above where the same is true.

        Where you have people living in very small spaces, with no access to storage and no access to transport, waste will be dumped – the problem now is that this is seen borough-wide as normal and acceptable behaviour.

  2. Arfur Towcrate says:

    The Tories promised us no incinerator in or near the borough. They then voted for one to be built just behind IKEA.

    They also promised us – in December 2012 – to make recycling compulsory; Their record on that appears to be as abysmal as their ability to keep promises and in tackle fly-tipping.

    If you vote garbage in, you get garbage on your streets and in your lungs.

  3. Danny Stanzl says:

    That Warrington road photo I think is a little unfair. I walk passed there everyday and they were clearing rubbish out and had some rubbish in their garden (the other side of the wall in the photo). Clearly someone overnight, drunk or something had dragged it out onto the road an pulled it apart, because of the result was nicely stacked the other side of that wall.

    I don’t think it is normal residents of Croydon that do most of the bad stuff, more those “other” residents that pass through… I had a go at some I saw dumping on Purley way two Friday’s ago, which resulted in them driving their van at me. I decided to hard man it out and not flinch as a guy at work said it was the only way to deal with them and it did work, but I wasn’t feeling that confident as the van was being driven at me!

    I think residents have got to stop using these people to do “jobs” for them with their discounted rates for taking rubbish away. These residents know what really is going to happen to it… and then the police and council have got to have some guts to deal with these people, they seem to be immune to any kind of prosecution.

  4. Perhaps the Tories’ embarrassment over their appalling record in Ashburton is one of the reasons they refused to debate with me on the radio?

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