Woodside councillors go missing from rubbish walkabout

Two weeks after Veolia were ordered to clean up these bins on Werndee Road, and they are back in a disgusting state

Just two weeks after residents organised a walkabout in South Norwood and part of Woodside ward with some councillors and management from Croydon’s rubbish contractors, and the photograph (right) shows the state of one of those streets again yesterday.

Residents had, as the council encouraged them to do, already organised street clean-ups – basically, doing the council’s contractors’ job for them.

But some living on or near Portland Road are becoming increasingly frustrated at the failures of Veolia and the council to remove domestic waste from their neighbours’ wheelie bins, which are frequently overflowing with rubbish, which is left across the pavements.

A quick trip to bookmakers William Hill becomes a gamble over whether you’ll encounter one of the growing number of rats spotted in the area.

“Sad to see that the three hours we spent showing around our councillors two weeks ago was seemingly for nothing,” one clearly upset resident posted on social media yesterday.

The walkabout had taken the group about three hours to complete on a freezing mid-January day.

It was attended by the always diligent Stuart Collins, the Labour council’s cabinet member for fly tipping and dirty streets, together with a couple of managers from Veolia, who took notes and nodded a lot, plus a couple of council execs and enforcement officers. Patsy Cummings, Clive Fraser and Jane Avis, the Labour councillors for South Norwood ward, all showed up.

Couldn’t be bothered: Woodside councillor Tony Newman

Although the planned rubbish walk route also included parts of Woodside ward, no councillors elected to represent that ward bothered to show up.

Hamida Ali gave some excuse about having other commitments on that day.

But the two others – Tony Newman, the council leader (who pockets £53,223 in council allowances each year for serving the people of Croydon), and his big mate Paul Scott (who receives £43,339) couldn’t be bothered to put in an appearance.

During the walk, it became clear that the Veolia managers were not entirely familiar with the area that they were supposed to manage.

Unemptied bins, left on the pavement, have become fly tipping eyesores

A stroll down the underpass near Norwood Junction station, for instance, prompted the Veolia staffer to admit that he didn’t know the walkway existed. Which probably explains why the underpass remained unswept for most of 2018.

According to the residents, they undertook “a walkabout of Woodside ward to tackle rubbish, bin issues and eyesore front gardens”.

One of the recurring problems, as shown by the state of the same streets this week, is homes of multiple occupation, or HMOs.

The council appears incapable of getting to grips with the volume of rubbish these small rented flats appear to generate, or to influence the landlords – all of whom have to hold a licence under the council’s landlord licensing scheme – to ensure that they keep their properties in good order.

And what’s the council’s answer to HMOs that claim that they have no where for tenants to store their refuse? Rather than insist that landlords make proper arrangements for their tenants and provide rubbish stores, the council has instead provided the flats with a bespoke, near-daily rubbish collection service, which allows them to dump their bin bags on the street every night.

But it is not just about people living in often overcrowded conditions not taking due care about the neighbourhood in which they live.

The residents’ notes from the Woodside walkabout demonstrate that they encountered problems with the standard of Veolia’s work which are common throughout the borough.

These are just a handful of examples:

“Unacceptable street cleaning standards found. Op will use broom not just a litter picker.”

“Some residents are not using bins at the back. Action?”

“Unacceptable cleaning standards found. Veolia agreed to monitor standards and do better and not just use litter picker but also broom to deal with regular broken glass.”

Outside the William Hill bookmakers has become a tip

Common threads are the lack of effective enforcement action by the council, on residents or, where approproate, landlords, and the failure to closely monitor the work being done by Veolia.

On one road, it was confirmed that there had not been any roadsweeping done by Veolia for three months.

And there was also noted a kind of postcode lottery over the standard of roadsweeping: south of the High Street, the cleaning was “considerably worse” than to the north of the high street.

One HMO on Werndee Road has a particular problem, and Collins and the council staff promised to visit the residents there. Warnings as to future conduct were also issued to the occupiers.

Yet within two weeks, as the residents’ photographs from yesterday show, the situation has reverted to how it was.

More issues continue to emerge about the shocking state of Croydon’s streets, and the rubbish contractors’ failure to deliver the service expected.

Residents who pay an additional fee to have their green waste removed report that Veolia have been missing collections, but that when they attempt to report this through the council’s crap app or online, they are told that the waste sacks that are sitting outside their front door have been logged as having been collected. “Basically, Veolia have lied,” Inside Croydon’s loyal reader said.

Happy new year from Croydon Council

And there’s a growing number of reports from residents that the free collection of Christmas trees, which the council promised would be undertaken between January 14 and 25, has simply failed to materialise.

Of course, the council will record that there’s been zero percentage of missed collections of Christmas trees, mainly because their crap app has no means of reporting a missed Christmas tree collection.

So we thought we’d give you the chance to take part in our unscientific survey…


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 Clive Fraser, Environment, Fly tipping, Hamida Ali, Jane Avis, Patsy Cummings, Paul Scott, Refuse collection, South Norwood, Stuart Collins, Tony Newman, Veolia, Woodside and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Woodside councillors go missing from rubbish walkabout

  1. What a surprise! The whole bin business has been as badly managed as Brexit!

    At least our lovely council and the majority of its members are consistent. Their mantra is “Policy before People” and they stick to it rigidly.

  2. To be fair, the Council do need time to investigate and fine if appropriate. I for one did not take this into account. But new bins being given out when they have been logged as not allocated to new conversions should happen faster IMO. Why are landlords not registering with the system? This would speed up things considerably surely?

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