Croydon Conservatives sent teams out right across the borough this weekend to help clean up our streets from the scourge of fly tipping. It also presented a good opportunity to test out our Labour council’s claim that it is improving the cleanliness of our streets.
The teams found an astounding 1,312 fly tips on the streets, all of which are being reported to council officers for clearance.
The fly tips varied from a few bags to the entire contents of flats left out on the pavement. Possibly the most foul tip was in West Thornton ward where a bed and mattress had been left out (together with most of the rest of the flat). The tipper had helpfully written on it ‘don’t touch bed, bed bugs’!
Some of the tips in verges had clearly been there all year as they were overgrown by this season’s growth of vegetation.
The teams found dozens of beds, fridge freezers, washing machines, TVs, computers, a moped, furniture by the ton and even an abandoned vending machine. A number of these - particularly the fridges - were downright dangerous.
This is probably the biggest snapshot of the state of our streets ever attempted and it reveals some interesting facts.
65% of tips found were in Croydon North parliamentary constituency, 20% in Croydon Central and 16% in Croydon South. 80% were in wards with Labour councillors.
The wards with the most fly tips were West Thornton with 202, Thornton Heath with 177, Norbury with 116 and - embarrassingly for the cabinet member for clean and green, Cllr Stuart Collins - his own ward of Broad Green with 88. To make matters worse for Stuart, a Conservative team went out in Broad Green just three weeks ago and found 61 tips that day (to be fair to council most of the tips recorded then had been removed, although some remained).
The ward with the fewest fly tips was Coulsdon West ward, with just three found. The team is Sanderstead reported just 8 and Shirley 6.
Leader of the Opposition Cllr Tim Pollard says “Whilst we were pleased as a group of councillors and supporters to be able to go out and make a tangible contribution to keeping our town tidy, this is also an appalling indictment of the failure of our Labour council.
“When in opposition they complained loudly and often about the much lower levels of fly tipping then seen. According to them at that time, it was all the Conservative council’s fault because it ‘didn’t care’.
"Now that they are responsible for it, as the party which controls the council, it is apparently not the council’s fault at all. Recently Cllr Collins has been telling anyone who will listen that it is a regional or national problem and the government is to blame!
"The fact is that the council is not doing the fly tipping and you can’t necessarily blame it for the fact that unscrupulous people can’t be bothered to do the right thing with their waste. But printing a few T-shirts with a snappy slogan is doing nothing to keep the place tidy and the Labour council needs to be much more proactive in finding and clearing the mess.
“The problem is spiralling out of control and Labour seems unable to do anything to control it. It has taken a huge voluntary effort by Croydon Conservatives to get this mess cleared up and I hope that Labour will be shamed into telling its ward councillors to go looking for the mess in their own wards.”