Back from my holiday on Sunday I flipped through the Gazette only to find a whole page devoted to their “Clean-up Southall Campaign” complete with quotes from Southall councillors Gurcharan Singh and Kamaljit Dhindsa. Having been in Southall a only couple of weeks before I was not sure I believed Singh’s prescription “we need more resources to solve the problem”. The new council is pouring more resources into the environment in Southall but more is required than just council spending. Cllr Dhindsa’s diagnosis also seemed a bit weak:
A lot of new arrivals coming into Southall are not aware of how rubbish is cleared here, and also about recycling. In some parts of the world people clear out their rubbish by chucking it into the street, and when new arrivals come here they don’t realise that it is wrong to do that here.
Only on Tuesday these councillors were voting against a budget that included:
- an increase to the street cleaning budget of 75%
- an extension of street cleaning in Southall from 8pm to 10 pm
- an extension of zone 1 (continual cleanse) down Western Road to the borough boundary
- many of the roads in Southall moving from a weekly to a twice weekly cleanse.
I went to look for myself.
In general the public realm looked pretty good:
Southall Park looked lovely in the sunshine
The new loos looked clean and well-maintained
New street lights and safety cameras
Newish bins with bin bags in place
New street signs
Some of the roads and pavements could have looked better, as could most in the entire borough. The last Labour administration let the budget for streets fall to £1 million per annum. The new administration immediately increased this to £1.5 million on election last year and will maintain this level of spending this year and into the future. It will take many years though to undo the damage caused by Labour to our roads.
I spotted four fly tips at the ends of Beaconsfield Road, Hortus Road, Kingston Road and Featherstone Road and another one halfway down Havelock Road opposite the Gurdwara. Is it really new arrivals doing all this or is it long-time residents and businesses who simply don’t want to clear up after themselves? The most spectacular flytip was the one in Kingston Road which was just by the back door of a food business. Dumposaurus Dumpsters Austin TX would eagerly provide dumpster rental to them.
I reported all five to the the council’s customer services desk on 020 8825 6000 this morning. Any member of the public can do this. Clean-up Southall? Yes! Pick up the phone! It is a shame that the Gazette’s feature, covering one whole page, did not not take the opportunity to advertise this phone number.
The real problem I saw was in the private rather than the public realm. In my short walkabout I came across eight envirocrime cases where local businesses or landlords are simply not complying with the law and using public spaces to run their businesses and as dumping grounds. These are not hapless newcomers that don’t know any better but cynical businessmen who want to make more profit by exploiting the environment.
Ruby’s Food and Wine one the Uxbridge Road seem to think it is OK to put out their overflowing dumpsters and cage trolleys on the footpath
The Roshni restaurant on South Road seem to be quite happy to sublet the footpath outside
The landlord who owns the alley behind South Road (entrance St Joseph’s Drive), and the tenants who use it every day, need to police their own private property
It looks like the Skylark travel agency on The Crescent are putting out their commercial waste at the wrong time
Which businesses are putting their dumpsters on The Crescent Road Open Space?
The State Bank of India on The Green seems to be incapable of keeping its grass free of litter
The landlord of the private land to the right of the Dominion car park needs to clean it up
Sira Super Store on King Street is totally taking the Mickey with a fork lift and 4 cage trolleys on Church Avenue and bags and crates alongside the store
All eight of these envirocrime cases have been reported to the Southall envirocrime area manager this morning. Any member of the public and certainly any of the 15 Labour councillors in Southall can do this too. As David Cameron says: “We are all in this together”.
We have similar issues, although perhaps not as many, in both South Ealing Road and Northfield Avenue in my ward. Councillors and residents just have to keep on reporting these things to the council – you can also have a dramatic effect by just talking to businesses yourself directly. For instance, I worked with residents of Airedale Road on a short campaign and persuaded a butcher to stop leaving his meat-filled dumpster on the street over the weekend. Let these businesses know that they won’t get your custom if they mess the place up.