A guest post from Mark McDermott
I was born and bred in Hammersmith and my family have lived in the Borough for over 50 years.
Hammersmith is a great place to live, work, socialise and be educated in. In the last few years I’ve noticed a massive improvement in the area with new investment, opportunities and a real sense of optimism about the place. Unfortunately things are no longer quite so rosy. Here is my experience with the increase of fly-tipping and in the general state of the streets.
Fly-tipping is something that has always happened and probably always will. Previously when it happened it was dealt with quickly, efficiently and with a minimum amount of fuss. That has all changed in the last few months. I’ve just checked and I’ve had to use the H&F Report It App a total of nine times in January alone. I could have used it a lot more but sometimes I just don’t have the time to log each incident I come across. I’ve come to the conclusion that if I don’t report it then it just won’t get removed in any kind of hurry.
Going to work the other morning I saw fly-tipping in a street I regularly walk down. I had a particularly busy day at work so was unable to report it. Coming home that evening I noticed it was still there. When I got home I reported it via the app. As we live in the 21st Century I also sent several tweets to LBHF and one of my Labour Ward Councillors during the course of the next couple of days. I didn’t receive any replies to the tweets. Eventually the fly-tipping was removed on the day that street had it’s normal rubbish collection.
At the weekend I reported branches which had fallen from a tree lying across the pavement in another street. Those branches had been there for at least seven days. I can’t believe any kind of regular street monitoring service could have missed this. I remember walking past a dumped Christmas tree so many times that we were almost on first name terms before it was removed. Another local street often has so much fly-tipping, rubbish, dog fouling and bicycle’s chained to lamp posts that it can be like navigating through an obstacle course at times.
It’s ironic that each time I report an incident of fly-tipping I receive an e-mail from “Love Clean Streets”. Now I’m all for doing my civic duty but I expect as a given that my local Council actually do keep the streets clean. LBHF Council need to do so much better.
Thanks Mark for making a very good point. I moved to Overstone Road in Broadway ward four and a half years ago. There has been improvement, though things could still be so much better. Too many bin bags out on the wrong days and times, chained bicycles cluttering the pavement, dog excrement, cigarette butts and litter, unwanted household items dumped for someone else to deal with. I too have made hundreds of reports and had meetings with the streetscene team. I challenged two guys who were dumping a sofa in Adie Road and ended up being assaulted. Council officers are willing and hard-working, though perhaps lacking sharp enough tools to deter offenders. I know from doing a walkabout with Greg Smith last year that he really cared about clean streets. I can’t say that things have actually got much worse since May 2014, but there are worrying signs that we have ‘plateaued’ and risk going into reverse. Cllr Harcourt has cancelled walkabouts with Serco, and the significant number of prosecutions for littering in the borough’s town centres have dwindled to almost zero. The administration needs to show leadership around this issue, be ambitious and send clear messages. We made a lot of progress in the first four years I have lived here, but there is so much more to do.