The 2015 Garbage Gallery: Have the bin men been?

Boulogne Road, Croydon, last week. Nice

Boulogne Road, Croydon, last week. Nice

SEP 19 UPDATE: There is a problem for Croydon’s Labour-run council. Having got elected to the Town Hall in 2014 on a platform that promised to clean-up the borough of the blight of fly-tipping, it’s becoming increasing clear that, however much the councillors might want something to improve, however many sloganising T-shirts they might hand out, the state of our streets is still, frankly, crap.

Imagine taking your toddler off to school on a Monday morning along Boulogne Road, Thornton Heath, and having to wheel the pushchair around other people’s mess, as shown in the picture above from last week. Is that acceptable?

Of course it isn’t.

Thing is, this isn’t commercial fly-tipping, but has the look of domestic waste being dumped on a street corner. There’s empty food wrappings, used nappies, old clothes… And the council has no chance of taking any action against those responsible unless someone is stupid enough to get caught on CCTV.

Oh look: someone's decided to dump a mattress on Eland PLace in Waddon

Oh look: someone’s decided to dump a mattress on Eland Place in Waddon

The council has, to some extent, encouraged such behaviour. There are some streets in the borough, with multiple occupancy of flats above shops, where the tenants put out bags of rubbish every night. Not for them the fortnightly bin collections of most Council Tax-payers. Effectively, they receive a daily rubbish collection service, as council contractors dutifully come along and clear up the mess.

On one street in particular, where the issue has been reported frequently for more than three years – under Tory and now Labour administrations – no enforcement action against the offenders, or their landlord who condone such conduct, has ever been taken. Why not? Council officials claim they cannot prove who is doing it, even though the black bin bags appear outside the same doorsteps most days of the week.

And Eland Place yesterday. Stuart Collins wants someone to come forward to identify the dumper. Good luck with that, Stu

And Eland Place yesterday. Stuart Collins wants someone to come forward to identify the dumper. Good luck with that, Stu

Over in Waddon, Eland Place appears to have become the dumping ground of choice. A mattress one week, a bed base the next. When this was brought to the attention of the senior councillor responsible, Stuart Collins, you could sense the despair in his response when he undertook that the dumping would be removed and almost begged residents to tell him who is responsible. Good luck with that, Stu.

But therein ought to be a lesson for the council. Mattresses started to appear on street corners in Croydon as if placed there overnight by the Old Mattress Fairy once the (then Tory) council withdrew its bulky items removal service in a cost-cutting exercise. Why pay even a modest fee, if you can dump the rubbish on a street corner and get it taken away for nothing? All those “savings” from withdrawing that service are lost in the cost of clearing the resulting fly-tips.

So, the proposal to drop the free collections of green waste? Ask the residents of neighbouring borough Sutton what’s been happening there since their free green waste collection was dropped. Yes, you’ve guessed it…

But while Collins maintains that no decision on the issue has yet been reached in Croydon, by asking for 18,000 households to agree to pay for such a service, you know what the outcome will be.

To contribute to the Garbage Gallery, send your pictures, with a note of the time, date and location, to inside.croydon@btinternet.com, marking the subject field “Garbage Gallery 2015″.

Garbage Gallery Sep 6SEPTEMBER 6 UPDATE: A glorious day, and council dignitaries have been out in force at the Thornton Heath Festival.

Some senior councillors at the Festval took to social media to boast of how “loads of local people wanting to take pride in Croydon”.

Just around the corner, and the evidence is that the council's "take pride" message is still not working

Just around the corner from the Thornton Heath Festival, and the evidence is that the council’s “take pride” message is still not working

Representatives of the council’s contractors were there, too, handing out the nicely sloganed “Don’t Mess With Croydon” bags.

The T-shirts, it seems, are just sooo last year.

But just around the corner from the Festival, on Whitehorse Road, where it was fly-tipped a few days ago, is the unwanted bed base as shown in our picture above.

Clearly, someone’s still not got the message.

Inglis Road, Addiscombe, home to two senior Labour councillors, and with its bins over-spilling within just a couple of days of the latest collection

Inglis Road, Addiscombe, home to two senior Labour councillors, and with its bins over-spilling within just a couple of days of the latest collection

AUGUST 18 UPDATE: Who says that our local politicians are out of touch with the concerns of ordinary Croydon residents?

The picture to the right was sent to Inside Croydon by our loyal reader from Inglis Road, Addiscombe, which is the borough’s most political street, as its residents include two senior members of the local Labour group, as well as four other candidates in May 2014’s local elections who failed to get enough votes to jump aboard the Town Hall gravy train.

The picture was taken on Sunday evening, barely three days since the rubbish collection had taken place on the previous Thursday. So only another 10 days before the next collection round is due by contractors Veolia.

Inglis Road was dubbed “Croydon’s most political street” by Inside Croydon 18 months ago, when we reported how it had six candidates for election from across the political spectrum.

These include two of the ruling Labour group’s most senior figures, Alison Butler, the deputy leader of the council, and her partner, Paul Scott, the chair of the planning committee.

From a look at the bins on their street, there’s not been very effective planning on the use of their wheelie bins. Will Butler and Scott be lobbying the council for more frequent bin collection services?

First posted AUG 13: Over the past three years, Inside Croydon has run Garbage Galleries, with the pick of the pics contributed by our loyal reader.

How the rubbish was allowed to pile up outside people's homes in Bensham Grove, Thornton Heath over the course of three weeks

How the rubbish was allowed to pile up outside people’s homes in Bensham Grove, Thornton Heath over the course of almost three weeks this summer

And, following council contractor Veolia’s shift to the “village system” of bin collections in June, it is clear that it is long overdue for us the revive this feature.

First reports suggested that, in some way, the southern (Tory-voting) parts of the borough were getting a lesser service from the refuse bin and recycling collections than the northern (Labour-voting) wards. But it is becoming clear that this is not the case: all of Croydon is getting a rubbish service from Veolia.

Poor old Stuart Collins, the Labour deputy leader responsible for clearing up the mess that is Croydon’s streets, was enthusiastically distributing sloganising T-shirts almost from his first day in office last May. A year on, and nearly two dozen prosecutions for a range of offences, from dropping a fag end in North End to blatant fly-tipping, represent progress of sorts.

But it remains that among the worse litterers of our streets are the very contractors whose job it is to take away our rubbish.

We were contacted this week by one reader, from Thornton Heath, whose bin collection finally occurred yesterday – five days later than it is supposed to happen.The Tories’ service-cutting shift to only fortnightly collections means that that’s 19 days’ worth of rubbish building up outside people’s homes, in August, usually the hottest time of the year, when flies, maggots and other vermin become an increasing problem and health risk.

And even when the bin men finally did turn up: “All the ripped bags and rubbish from the foxes has been left for us to clean up,” our loyal reader said.

"Take pride!" is the council's slogan: would you allow your children to play in a public park that looked like this?

“Take pride!” is the council’s slogan: would you allow your children to play in a public park that looked like this?

Other correspondents to this site have suggested that a wait of three weeks or more for their bins to be collected is not unusual (food waste should be collected weekly, thus reducing the smells and pest problem with the landfill bins; not all residents appear to have grasped this system, however).

In one of the leafier parts of Waddon, one resident has told us, “We’ve had 10 missed collections in 12 weeks.”

Fly-tipping outside a Croydon park this week

Fly-tipping outside a Croydon park this week

The council claims that they receive complaints from only 2 per cent of “clients” (they mean Council Tax-payers), but that figure seriously under-estimates the issue: the council has reduced its opening hours at its call centre – again – making it evermore inconvenient for residents to call-in an issue, and it is still using the poorly performing crap App (as featured in Private Eye).

“If the bins don’t get collected on the due date now, people just shrug because they expect there to be a poor service, and because they know that even if they report it, it won’t make any difference,” was the view of one resident who works at the Town Hall.

Collins says that Veolia face fines if they continue to under-perform, and that their contract may be coming up for renewal.

One household's rubbish destined for landfill, at least once it gets collected

One household’s rubbish destined for landfill, at least once it gets collected

Since that contract was subject to a procurement process run by Nathan Elvery (whose appointment as the council CEO was confirmed a year ago by the Labour leader, Tony Newman), and was drawn up by the legal team under Borough Solicitor, Julie Belvir, there can be little confidence that our council’s most senior officials will manage to deliver an improved deal for residents.

The current council deal, after all, managed to include clauses under which Veolia’s work is monitored by… voila! Veolia.

  • Have your bin men missed their timetabled collection? 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? 
  • To contribute to the Garbage Gallery, send your pictures, with a note of the time, date and location, to inside.croydon@btinternet.com, marking the subject field “Garbage Gallery 2015″.

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 inside.croydon@btinternet.com
This entry was posted in Croydon Council, Environment, Fly tipping, Julie Belvir, Nathan Elvery, Refuse collection, Thornton Heath, Tony Newman, Waddon and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The 2015 Garbage Gallery: Have the bin men been?

  1. Nick Davies says:

    Some things are so silly. You have to put garden waste in bin bags to be picked up. They then empty them into the wagon and leave said bags to blow up and down the road and get wrapped around telephone wires. As they are usually ripped to shreds by thorns and pointy things the only thing you can do with them when you’ve retrieved them is put them in the landfill bin ready to be collected next week.

    Why can’t they take simply take the bags while they are at it?

  2. marzia27 says:

    Stuart follows up every single complaint and should be praised.
    He has inherited a contract and should look into rescinding it.
    I never suffered a missed collection but Veolia staff are very careless and tend to leave spillages if not monitored and robustly challenged.

  3. Please show some initiative…put it all in a lorry and tip it over Purley Way…you know it makes sense!

  4. Alistair says:

    What I find annoying are the litter-filled + leaves-filled veolia bags which the street cleansers fill then pile up on pavements for collection at a later date. These are quite often causing an obstruction for days, and also occasionally get ripped open and rummaged through by foxes.
    Tied bags left on pavements for long periods are also seen as “litter areas” by some who quite often drop their own litter onto the piled up bags, instead of finding a litter bin or taking it home.
    Also, I hear this week that the borough’s recycling collections are to change very soon, with residents receiving a recycling wheelie bin (ugly) in place of the boxes, with a fortnightly collection now for both landfill and recycling.

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