Council caught fly-tipping discarded furniture by youth club

CROYDON IN CRISIS: Volunteers, residents and even councillors have been ignored by officials, as council staff have turned a patch of open space into a dump. EXCLUSIVE by KEN LEE, our Town Hall reporter

The council dump: some of the unwanted furniture fly-tipped next to the youth centre by Croydon’s own staff

Croydon’s part-time Mayor has his work cut out if he is to deliver on his election promise to get tough on fly-tippers with enforcement action. Because one of the worst offenders for fly-tipping in Old Town is… Croydon Council itself.

Residents and community volunteers in Waddon have accused the council of using the Old Town Youth Club as dumping ground for almost five years – and denying all responsibility when brought to account.

The complaints of Waddon ward Labour councillors – when Labour had control of the Town Hall – have been ignored.

Residents and youth workers have been frustrated and in despair as van after van – often in the council’s very own livery – have driven up to Duppas Hill Terrace and unloaded a range of rubbish right next to one of the few youth clubs still operating in the borough.

Major centre: the Old Town Youth Club, at the top of Duppas Hill Terrace

“As you can see from our emails,” one resident told Inside Croydon, “we have tried numerous times to get them to clear the site, but nothing seems to get done, just more rubbish being dumped.”

The Old Town Youth Club has a patch of waste ground alongside it, where an electricity sub-station once stood.

The latest chain of emails with council officials was in April, when a senior officer said then that the rubbish would be removed “as quickly as possible”. That was on April 27.

The discarded old beds, mattresses, fridges, sofas, tyres, chairs (loads of chairs), concrete slabs and broken up plasterboard – all the kind of items that usually make up illegal fly-tips – are all to be found there, just a few feet away from the entrance to what is formally known as the Charles Major Centre.

Rubbish council: officials admit that the space has been used for ‘storage’

Some of the materials left next to the youth centre look as if they might be the result of the council clearing vacated council homes of furnishings left behind by the last tenant. There is also a reasonable caution that some of the boards dumped by the youth club might contain asbestos.

According to locals, there’s even “dozens” of relatively new filing cabinets dumped there.

The filing cabinets’ previous home had been in the council offices in Fisher’s Folly itself, but the cabinets were disposed of by the spendthrift council when they rented out some of the surplus office space in the building (which some people still persist in calling Bernard Weatherill House).

“I did send in a complaint to the environmental department, and have spoken to a couple of people who have come and gone into the premises, dumping stuff, and they always say, they are getting in a skip to clear it. But it never happens,” according one angry resident.

The council does not even dispute that it has been using the site as a dump.

Lot to unload: the dumping has been going on for five years, the council admits

According to an email from a senior council official, “This site was returned to the council by [UK Power Networks] following its decommissioning and was identified as a site that could be used for the council to store items from various projects and has been used as such for the five years or so.”

In the email, which has been seen by Inside Croydon, the official did concede, “It now sounds as if this is not being used in an acceptable fashion and I will therefore arrange for the area to be tidied up and rubbish removed as quickly as possible and make sure that this is used in a more appropriate manner moving forward.”

That was two months ago. The council chief executive, Katherine Kerswell, was copied in to the correspondence.

But still nothing has been done.

When Jason Perry was seeking people’s votes to become Croydon’s first elected Mayor, he said, “Residents deserve to feel proud of the borough as they walk down the street.”

And Perry promised, “The council will clean up Croydon and ensure services are carried out as they should be. This will include improving street cleaning and refuse collection
through effective contract management and enforcement against fly-tippers.”

Though, evidently, that is not the case if they are Croydon Council fly-tippers getting rid of a load of unwanted office furniture from the cash-strapped council.

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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 Community associations, Croydon Council, Fly tipping, Katherine Kerswell, Steve Iles, Youth Services and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Council caught fly-tipping discarded furniture by youth club

  1. Ian Kierans says:

    A Council acts as a civil authority and is charged with ensuring civil law is enforced. This one is regularly being accused (with prima facia evidence)of bending ignoring and breaching it’s own rules on a regular basis. It passes the buck to the Police at every opportunity and has repeatedly said to residents to take it up with Police or other authorities or take it to Court yourself
    Welcome to our shining examples and role models. So where is the Ombudsman?

  2. Storage??? You don’t store a mattress in then open air! Madness, environmental nightmare, etc etc..

  3. Lewis White says:

    The people responsible should be given “Environmental Crime Offender” luminous jackets and sent to shovel the “stored items” with their bare hands onto the back of a tipper — then push it down to the incinerator. On Saturdays and Sundays.

    Normally “stored” items are sorted into categories and protected under cover –and in such a way as to avoid creating a rat hotel.

    I wonder if the Council department(s) who enjoyed what they probably regarded as a free “tip” have done the decent thing and reported themselves to the Environment Agency and Police?

    Mattresses, asbestos…. it beggars belief. And for 5 years , not 5 days.
    Did they apply for a planning change of use from sub station to rubbish dump ? Breach of Planning Control, I think.

    When you can’t trust the Local authority in matters like this, it undermines their moral Authority.
    Role models?. More like “roll of soggy used carpet and underlay” type model.

    I wonder if those filing cabinets still contain old files relating to the Negrini payoff–or secrets relating to the Fairfield Hall refurbishment.

    Who knows, under all that rubbish, the artist-painted Fairfield Safety Curtain may be lurking.

  4. Anna says:

    Waddon has been the dustbin of Croydon for years, a dumping ground for badly built flat blocks and now the fields being sold off for festival parties. I think the Labour council ignored it as it has a Tory MP who let’s face it doesn’t care about that part of his constituency (or any part outside Coulsdon for that matter)

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