How Mayor Perry was shamed to take action by a video nasty

CROYDON IN CRISIS: Parts of the town centre on private land are being turned into rat-infested rubbish dumps, and the council had done nothing about it until a couple of residents shamed the Town Hall leadership.

The appalling state of our streets has been a constant concern around all parts of the borough for years. And by all accounts, it is just getting worse.

Rubbish centre: this was Waterworks Square earlier this week

It’s not just the stench of urine that dominates the underground walkways around the town centre. Or the human waste and other muck that can too often be observed in some car parks.

The lack of frequent street cleaning by the council’s rubbish contractors has become more marked since covid, despite Veolia receiving a £22million “uplift” in their contract around that time from the soon-to-be cash-strapped Croydon Council.

The fact that Veolia has since been given notice that their contract won’t be renewed when it ends in 2025 will hardly motivate their managers and directors to provide additional resources to do what they are already well paid to do: keep Croydon’s streets clean, our residents’ bins emptied regularly.

There’s not enough staff at Fisher’s Folly to answer all the calls from residents trying to lodge complaints or report fly-tips (“All reports of missed bin collections must be made online…”).

Not listening: part-time Jason Perry

Mayor of Croydon, Jason “Listening to Croydon” Perry, isn’t really listening, however often he gets the publicly-funded council press office to pump out his political propaganda.

Since being elected as the £82,000 per year Mayor in May 2022, he has done nothing to improve the council’s contact centre, lengthening its opening hours or providing an improved service at weekends or bank holidays. Staff in part-time Perry’s office answer the phones for just 20 hours of each regular, 40-hour week. This Bank Holiday week, you’ll be lucky if Perry’s office phones are staffed for even 16 hours.

The council’s CrapApp, which has been kicking around for more than a decade, still does not have any categories for residents to report missed bin collections or missed food waste collections.

Try to report such a service failure using another, opensource smartphone app that is effectively used by hundreds of other local authorities and all you will (eventually) get is an acknowledgement that your report has been received, but a Job’s Worth response saying that the council staff will ignore the complaint because you, the resident, the Council Tax-payer, did not follow their procedure…

Disgrace: Priddy’s Yard has become a town centre rubbish dump

Even if you send emails to the Mayor or your MP, chances are that they will be ignored.

Two episodes this week, however, demonstrated another approach which might, just might, deliver more effective results from our elected representatives and the council’s paid staff.

Tweet shaming makes puce-faced Perry even more red-faced, enough to sit up and take notice. And maybe even to listen to the residents who pay his handsome salary.

On Wednesday morning, someone called Miles, tweeting as @CR0ydonCrypto, posted a video nasty on the social media platform, tagging the Mayor (and Inside Croydon, as it happens) and hashtagged “#rats”. We understood this to be a description of the rodent infestation featured in his video, rather than a description of us…

The images were not pretty: piles of black bin bags, apparently dumped just off the town centre, a short walk away from Surrey Street’s food market. It looks like industrial-scale dumping, perhaps by a business that can’t, or won’t, pay to have its waste dealt with properly and responsibly.

“Can somebody sort out this ongoing fly tipping and public health hazard being committed by 12-20 Crown Hill (previously Phase nightclub) in Priddys Yard,” public-spirited Miles tweeted.

“It’s not a landfill site!” Though that’s exactly what it looked like.

Miles’s polite tweet quickly demonstrated three things:

  1. No one from the council or its contractors is patrolling and monitoring the state of our streets on a regular or effective basis;
  2. Our politicians don’t really know the area they are meant to represent, and fail to visit all parts of their constituencies or wards often enough, apart from taking self-congratulatory selfies while delivering their party political leaflets; and
  3. Our elected representatives don’t always read their emails

Less than an hour after Miles’s video was posted on Twitter, he did get a response, from his MP, Sarah Jones.

MP concern: but the tweeter said that Sarah Jones had already been sent emails about this issue several times

“That’s horrific,” Jones replied. “Could you email that to”

“Already have Sarah,” Miles replied. “It’s been an issue for months.”

And apparently, the MP was entirely unaware of it.

Flagging: Mayor Perry was also apparently unaware of the issues with Priddys Yard

It took the Mayor somewhat longer to hit his social media send button.

“Thank you for flagging this. We have raised this with relevant officers,” Perry wrote, pompously. “Please could you provide an email address for us to provide further updates.”

But Miles had an answer for this self-serving mayoral tweet, too. “Hi Jason,” he replied.

“You have many emails from me on this topic already. Please check your records.”

Local hero: ‘Miles’, who posted the video nasty, invites ‘I’m listening’ Perry to read his emails

Later that day (presumably after Perry had got round to reading his records and getting a briefing from what councillors insist on calling “officers”, when they actually mean council employees), the Mayor had discovered that Priddys Yard is, in fact, private land. But while that puts it off-limit for Veolia road sweepers, it doesn’t negate the landowner’s responsibilities, nor the council staff’s job to enforce them.

Perry tweeted that afternoon: “Update: Thank you again for raising this. This is currently being looked into by our environmental enforcement team. Whilst this is on private land, our team are in the process of issuing a community protection notice, giving them direction to clear it.”

But if, as Miles has made clear, this has been an issue for many months, why is the environmental enforcement team only acting now, after the Mayor was embarrassed on Twitter?

This was not the only instance of tweet shaming this week.

Dumping ground: flats on Waterworks Yard can rent from £1,200 per month. They have a view over a rubbish tip

After Miles did his good citizen bit, another resident, Michael Davies, uploaded a video of the cans, bottles and other assorted detritus that litters Waterworks Yard, another bit of private property just a short walk from the Priddys Yard dumping site.

Residents can pay £1,200 per month for their one-bedroom flats overlooking Waterworks Yard. The old waterworks building looks a sorry, shabby mess. A protected, listed building, part of Croydon’s rapidly dwindling Victorian heritage, no one seems to want to spend money to bring it back into any sort of use.

There is public access allowed (tolerated?) through the courtyard, much of which has been fenced off since building works commenced a couple of years ago.

The littering problem appears to have got much worse in recent months, with the landowners apparently unwilling to pay for their property to be cleaned. Green Party ward councillor Ria Patel is investigating the situation, though it again raises the question of quite what the council’s environmental enforcement team has been doing all this time.

Perry’s Croydon: Waterworks Yard has got much worse in recent months

The rodent infestation, the illegal dumping of rubbish, late-night raves, drug-dealing and threats of violence are among the mounting frustrations of traders on Surrey Street whose pleas, ignored by the Mayor, the police and the Croydon Business Improvement District, have forced them into forming their own association to act as a lobby group.

But as one market trader on Surrey Street confided this morning, “Things get worse every week. Some stall-holders are giving up.

“They’ve had enough. We pay more in Council Tax and for our pitches, and we get less.

“The Mayor’s not listening. The police are not listening. It can’t go on like this.”

Perhaps they could learn from Miles and Michael, and indulge in a spot of Twitter shaming… nothing else seems to work.

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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
This entry was posted in Business, Croydon Central, Croydon Council, Environment, Fairfield, Fly tipping, Mayor Jason Perry, Refuse collection, Ria Patel, Sarah Jones MP, Veolia and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to How Mayor Perry was shamed to take action by a video nasty

  1. London streets are paved with gold.

    In Croydon it’s gum, shit, puke, bottles, cans, fag butts, KFC and McDonalds wrappers and mattresses.

    Our Council is failing to use its legal powers and obligations to keep our streets clean.
    Part-time Perry is complacently doing nothing about kicking the contractor. Instead he’s content to make us wait until April 2025 – nearly three-quarters of his period in office – to see if Veolia’s replacement can do any better

  2. John says:

    I think the people living in Croydon and using the food outlets might be part of the problem. We cannot blame everything on the Mayor, he does have upmteen Councillors, Council Employees and Contractors. It seems there is little bottom up responsibility either.

  3. Nick Davies says:

    Priddy’s Yard has been like it since at least 2020, if streetview went back further I doubt it would be much different.

    There’s a pile of xmas trees in the Jun 2022 image…

    • Nick, thank you for posting the link to Google maps, which shows that the heap of rubbish is next to the Holiday Inn Express. That means tourists staying there will get the distinct impression that Croydon is a right $hithole.

      John, when you wrote your list you forgot that our part-time Mayor also has a Cabinet stuffed with councillors paid extra money to help him deliver his promises. The one getting the £11,692 annual councillor allowance plus £27,503 on top to look after “Streets and Environment” is Scott Roche.

      He’s obviously not interested in earning his keep, as keenly demonstrated by the rubbish and filth all over our borough. But he’ll gladly get a publicity photo of himself and the Mayor sending in the mowers to wipe out wildflowers and the wildlife that depend on them. It’s a question of priorities

  4. Croydon council needs to be run in a more intelligent fashion and one example of this is using generative Artificial Intelligence to allow for much increased interaction with residents over the ‘phone.

    That way you can keep your ‘phone lines open for longer, stop insisting that services are available only online and provide more time for dealing on the ‘phone with more complicated challenging casework.

    Lewes and Eastbourne, Southampton, Derby and Cheshire West & Chester are already doing this.

    There is a culture that remains ineffectively challenged at the council of it managing demand by actually making it difficult to contact the council.

    Let’s hope in 2026 Mayoral candidates will seek to make this transformation at Croydon council.

  5. Lewis White says:

    As a Landscape Architect / Project Manager working for several London Boroughs, plus as a few years as a consultant landscape architect for a housing association, from the 80’s to the 2010’s, several of my projects were to design bin stores and recycling areas, on housing estates, on individual large properties, and on the streets, suitable for today’s residents and today’s volumes of waste.

    The fact is, the volume of household waste, and recyclable packaging, grew relentlessly since the days of when we took R Whites lemonade and Tizer bottles back to the corner shop for the deposit, and the time when a lot of food was wrapped in paper, at the butcher, or grocer, or brought home loose or in paper bags, from the greengrocers. The same days when people in houses used to burn a lot of burnables on the fire or in the boiler– leaving a resuidue of ash to put in the “dustbin”. Yes, the good old dusty bin, taken away by the dustmen….. later on jokingly called “refuse disposal operatives” by people taking the mic from sex equality and polotcal correct titles.

    Once upon a time, residents in blocks of flats tower blocks had rubbish chutes into which the tenant posted their small “swing-bin liners” of rubbish into small slots on their landings, into the chute. The rubbish fell to land in a big “paladin bin”. These are still there, but for decades, the volume of rubbish increased, and the slots could not take the larger, modern refuse sacks, so many residents now bring their bags of rubbish downstairs or in the lift. and throw them in the same paladins.

    Ground floor tenants in houses, 1950’s to 80’s built, had dustbins, often housed in “dustbin stores” with brick walls and concrete lids. Purpose-built, very neat, but not big enough to house a modern wheely bin, when they came along.

    I ended up designing open air enclosures to hold the new “Euro bins”, often with a timber pergola above, or . Often with a shallow access ramp, or a few steps, so that the resident could throw in the ir rubbish into the Euro bin. With bars to stop the lids opening too far, and falling backwards.

    Most of these new binstores seemed OK, and made the environment much more pleasamt. but all such sites need regular collection and cleansing.

    Looking at the photos in the Inside Croydon article, and having seena similarly awful areas at too many locations in Croydon, both private, and public.

    I think that problems stem from poor design, with store areas, and indoor refuse rooms, that are far too small, and which are used and abused by the general public who often walk in from another estate or block, to dump their rubbish.

    I have seen so many really flimsy binstores on new and old private and public housing built in feather edged fencing, with pathetic matching wooden gates that get smashed within weeks of being opened to use.

    In the world of refuse, all bin rooms and outdoor bin sites and recycling areas need to be designed big enough, to hold the many Euro bins needed for the user groups. All facilities neeed to be built like a Chieftan tank to stand up to the daily punishment of impacts from Euro bins, and people who whack the lids up and down.

    All need to be easy to wash down, and for the caretaking staff (if they exist) to keep clean easily. The days of on-site caretakers on most council estates are sadly long-gone .

    The big problem is that the bin stores need to be open at all times to the tenants, and to the refuse collectors, but– and this is not always possible– off-limits to the public. They also need to be within prescribed “haul distances” from the bin sytire to the dustcart.

    I suspect that both problems are being experienced at Priddy’s and Matthews’ Yards. I womder whether the areas could be kept off-limits to the public?
    Or is it tenants alone who are dumping the rubbish?

    Sometimes, if the users are few in number, they can be given keys to bin stores with locked gates, but anything requiring large numbers of people to remember to close and lock the gates is probably doomed to failure. Schemes to gate off formerly open, flytipped alleyways cost a lot to secure with high and chunky railings and matching gates. They can work very well, but only wjhen the users work together to keep the gates locked, every day or every year.

    As someone who dealt with many refuse and recycling projects, I was proud to sort out these eyesores, and therefore be a “rubbish designer”, but hopefully, a successful one. However, if the refuse stoarge is too small or badly sited, it will get full up and used so qy=uickly.

    No brand-new refuse store will work for more than a week after completion unless it is not ony “collected”, and “emptied” weekly or even twice-weekly by the visiting crews, but also managed and cleansed regularly ( at least once a week) by someone…and that is the 64,000 tonne of rubbish question— does that someone exist, and are they paid to come and clean the refuse areas properly.

    That takes funding, and also management willingness to achieve.

  6. Kathy Malik says:

    Mayor Perry should be utterly ashamed to preside over such a filthy borough. London Road has been turned into a public toilet by the local street drinkers. The stench of human faeces is overpowering around West Croydon train station. I never invite guests to my home now because I am so embarrassed by the filthy state of the streets. Why has the mayor allowed this to happen.

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