Binmageddon!: Oval Road residents despair at rubbish service

A typical scene on Oval Road, where bin bags are hung from Victorian railings, often for days on end

Demoralised residents in Addiscombe have appealed to the council to sort out the mess that they have created on Oval Road, where rubbish bags are left festering for days, even weeks on end, often with their contents spewing out across the street.

This constant eyesore and potential health hazard is the consequence of a council “trial”, a move which all but admits that the Binmageddon of tens of thousands of wheelie bins inflicted across the borough two years ago did not work for some Croydon streets.

Oval Road residents were written to by the council and told to expect collections of their general waste and recycling every week – double the frequency of service provided to most Croydon residents. But the reality is that the residents are now getting a far worse service than the rest of the borough.

Oval Road is made up of largely Victorian period terraced houses and was particularly blighted when Veolia, the council’s rubbish contractors, rolled out its giant wheelie bins. The problem for Oval Road was that there was nowhere for their bins to be stored except on the pavement outside their homes.

The council’s rubbish experiment on Oval Road is a health hazard in a pandemic

As one Oval Road resident explains, “At the start of the year we went in a trial where our plastic rubbish bins and recycling containers were removed and replaced with plastic bags of varying colours for every type of refuse. These bags are supposed to be collected each week. This is no problem.

“But then we found that all the rubbish wasn’t being taken every week.

“I had to chase the council for collection every week. Someone from waste services said that the reason for the non-collections is because the recycling was not being separated.

“But we know that recycling was being separated. It was just that no one came to take it.”

The residents’ plight has been worsened by passers-by on the street, who deposit their own waste and little on or in the residents’ refuse sacks.

“Someone added McDonalds rubbish to my bag as it sat in the street. The council appears to expect me to re-sort it back into the correct bags,” the frustrated resident said.

“I had to remind the council that we are in the middle of a pandemic where covid-19 can be spread simply by coming into contact with items that have been touched by someone with the virus.”

The colour-coded sacks for recycling ran out after just a few months, meaning that little or no recycling goes on along Oval Road any longer

The promised weekly collections were not taking place, either, until residents complained to the council. “No one has a clue what is going on,” the resident said.

As the trial has gone on, the state of the street has deteriorated badly.

“Some residents on the street keep the rubbish bags in the footpath all week. Some hang it off their metal fences on the footpath. It is extremely dirty and unhygienic.

“Foxes and pests are regularly ripping open the bags.

“I am fed up of picking up other people’s rubbish when there is global pandemic. I have reported the issue several times via the council’s dedicated app. I have also logged complaints via the council website.”

The resident has also written to their MP, Sarah Jones, and to their ward councillor, Sean Fitzsimons. “No one has been able to fix the problem. Still residents keep their rubbish outside. It astonishes me it is allowed.”

Inevitably, vermin have been ripping open the sacks, leaving rubbish strewn across the street

And there’s no recycling going on along Oval Road any longer either – the specially colour-coded bags for recycling ran out months ago, and the council has yet to provide residents with any new supplies.

“We were told that the recycling sacks were enough to last a year. They ran out after just six months. The whole street has the same issue. I am fed up of being told time and time again we will receive bags.

“It is appalling that the council have not dealt with this.

“If someone puts a cigarette out in the street they can get fined, but when people are putting the public health at risk on their property, nothing is done about it.

“It is only getting worse. No one cares.”

Read more: Our street has been blighted by council
Read more: One house, nine bins. Is this a record?


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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 Addiscombe West, Croydon Central, Croydon Council, Refuse collection, Sarah Jones MP, Sean Fitzsimons, Veolia and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Binmageddon!: Oval Road residents despair at rubbish service

  1. Lewis White says:

    Plastic bags on railings?. The local foxes and Cronx-side seagulls will be having a luvverly time ?.

    This scene of liiter strewn footways is just what some parts of Margate are like. Thanet Council introduced “seagull proof” versions like old fashioned mailbags, but with nil positive result. Their seagulls are adept at getting in to the bags, and some residents are careless. The bags end up sticky and revolting. Yechh!

    I think that the answer is to ask residents with the basement flats to share a set of big wheely bins with their neighbour, and empty all bins weekly, not forthnightly, or give each resident a set of the smaller wheelies.

    The footways are clearly wide enough. The bins can be vinyl-coated with jungle-scenes or pastoral pictures of wheat fields. Far better than the current mess.

    This street-eco disaster is actually quiet easy to cure.

  2. Joe Camel says:

    Oval rd is an utter mess. I have complained many times about the mess and the rats it attracts but nothing is done and the filth continues. I still have recycling bags and sort out my waste but it’s a pointless effort, all waste and recycling is collected in one bin truck, it all goes to the incinerator. It’s a crime what’s happening here. It saddens and sickens me. The place looks like a dump.

  3. Joe Camel says:

    I’m afraid I have to disagree with you on the bin sharing I’m afraid. As a basement resident those bins sit directly outside my bedroom window. I take care with mine but others do not. Its bad enough on the street with the mess, I shouldn’t have to put up with other peoples muck being moved directly on to my property and right under my window to smell all night. My neighbor above seems to think nothing of putting out bags of cat litter including poops for an entire week to fester and be dispursed all over the place. Why should I have to put up with that in my own front area and be forced to manage and clean up? It would be terrible to make the tidy careful people of the street be responsible for Thier neighbors failure to clean up after themselves. I’ve never had a burst bin bag or my waste scattered across the street. I seem to be one of the few who can manage it. As for the ones who have taken to decorating the railings with garbage. They should be utterly ashamed of how they are degrading the street and it’s residents but you know what….they aren’t. As fast as the waste is collected, new bags appear. I think sadly they like it that way. I’ve never seen anything like it till this year. The street has become so run down, it breaks my heart and drags the rest of us with them.

  4. Lewis White says:

    When I worked a landscape project manager for another London borough about 6 years ago, we had a very similar street with basement flats. In addition, the properties had a flat of steps up to the “ground floor” , so maybe the basements were in fact “half basements”. Wheelies could not be lugged up and down the basement area or the other steps. The council had a refuse and recycling team, with an officer whose job included authorising schemes for bins on the footway, where on-property storage was impossible.. I recall that she visited each flat to talk to the residents.

    Looking at Google Street View a few minutes ago, I did a virtual visit to the street..
    It is impossible to be sure about the provision (whether a set of wheelies per flat, or shared between 2 flats(, but it is clear that the wheelies are stored on the footway unless there is a steet level landing which can take a bin or two.

    The wheelies don’t look very prtetty, but they are not ugly, and therer is no evidence of litter splattered over the footway andf road as in your sad example.

    In spite of Croydon’s financial woes, if you have not done so already, I would suggest that you persevere, and ask your Cabinet member and local councillors to call round and see you and your neighbours. Also, contact the refuse team and see what solution they can offer. Could they give you all a set of smaller wheelies, and empty them each week instead of once per forthnight? Ideally, ask your councillors to attend along with the council waste officer, and thrash out a workable solution. It is not rocket science.

    It’s seems a bit of a pity that neighbours can’t work together amicably and share and manage a set of the big wheely bins. If we all have a blue bin for paper, a black bin for cans, a black bin for unrecyclables and maybe a garden waste bin, that is four in all–your neighbour could have 2 outside their flat, and you could have the other 2. That would split the provision equally.

    Councillors of all party colours will be eager to get your and your neighbours’ votes, and, one hopes, in any case would want to get rid of a public health eyesore that you are cleary suffering.

    People power works– so do this with your neighbours.

  5. Terry Williams says:

    No offence Lewis but you really have no idea what you are talking about concerning oval road. The councillors are well appraised of the issues regularly by several residents, nothing is done. There is absolutely zero chance of people working together on the street for many reasons. It’s all very disappointing and upsetting. There are deep rooted problems here. If you lived here you might understand. Google maps will tell you nothing.

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