Lessons to learn from Fly-tipping on Alexandra Road

The top end of Alexandra Road has been a notoriously place for fly-tipping over the years. It even has its own anti-dumping sign, installed at great expense many years ago. As a local resident and councillor I have reported the fly-tipping that happens daily on this site, but the number of incidences and magnitude of the dumping seems to have got worse over the last few years. Below are a series of photos over course of 2 days that show how the Council’s own contractor, Veolia, have contributed to the problems of this spot. But they are not the only reason why there is a major problem with fly-tipping in Addiscombe.

Why has this happened?

Alexandra Road Flytipping Sunday afternoon 27th April 2014

Alexandra Road Flytipping Sunday afternoon 27th April 2014

It is clear that the one size fit all policy of Croydon Tories are failing areas like Addiscombe. Addiscombe has almost the highest density of population in Croydon, with over 17,000 residents living in its area of 1.6 Square Km. This means Addiscombe has over twice the population density than Croydon as a whole, with 11,000 residents per square kilometre compared to borough’s 4,300 residents per square km. Compare this to Selsdon & Ballards, where half the local Tories on Croydon Cabinet live, where the population density is only 1,800 residents per square kilometre, one sixth the density of Addiscombe. Only Bensham Manor in Thornton has a higher population density than Addiscombe at 11,700 residents a square km, and this is why Addiscombe’s issues are very similar to the north of the Borough, and why the findings of the independent Croydon North Street Commission are so relevant to our local area.

Alexandra Road, Monday 28th April 2014 at 8am

Alexandra Road, Monday 28th April 2014 at 8am

Car Ownership in Addiscombe is also very low compared to many of the wards in the south of the borough. In Selsdon & Ballards each households average 1.5 cars. In Addiscombe the average is only 0.7, and the number of household with a car is less than 50%. It is self-evident that disposing of large unwanted items is harder for households without a car or van, and Croydon major recycling centres such as Factory Lane are only really accessible by car. Croydon Council doesn’t provide any on-street recycling facilities in the Addiscombe Ward for residents who live in flats or above shops or offices around Leslie Arms area.

Addiscombe also has a higher number of flatted accommodation than most of the borough. 47% of homes in Addiscombe are flats or apartments, compared to 36% across

Alexandra Road Flytipping Sunday afternoon 27th April 2014

Alexandra Road Flytipping Sunday afternoon 27th April 2014

the borough, and just 6% in Selsdon & Ballards. It is easier to keep streets clean if bins and boxes can be kept on the household’s own premises, and this may be the case in Selsdon & Ballard, but is not for Addiscombe and places like Thornton Heath and South Norwood.

Addiscombe shopping parades also have major issues about where rubbish from shops and flats are stored. Like many Victorian and early 20th century high streets, there is a serious problem with fly-tipping and general untidyness about our local parades. Bags from commercial premises are left out for private contractor to collect at all hours of the day and night; street cleaning rotas by Croydon Council have been cut; and large number of residents live above shops and offices with no place to store their rubbish and recyclable in their homes, and are forced to keep them within their homes for two weeks at a time, or risk being fined if they put the bags out in a street litter bin. Indeed the number of street bins locally have reduced over the years because officers claim local residents “misuse” them.

The shopping parades on Cherry Orchard Road and Lower Addiscombe Road, from Hastings Road to Windmill Bridge, have had little or no investment, and Tory Cllr Thomas response to a recent request to fund pavement improvements from an Addiscombe Labour Councillor was to reply that there was no money. Except of course, his department has been raising over £200K a year from parking penalty notices on car parking outside the Royal Mail office on Cherry Orchard Road alone, so there is the money available, as the surplus from parking fines should be spent on environmental improvements.

But local conservatives claim in a recent newsletter “We’ll press them to do more to catch the anti-soical minority who dump rubbish or allow their dogs to foul in the street and impose the manximum fine possible.” But there is no evidence that this happens. Since August 2013 Croydon Council has employed a private contractor to fine people who drop litter or let their dogs mess. For each person they fine Croydon Council pays the company £45, regardless of whether the person pays the fine or not. Croydon Advertiser December 2013 report shows that Croydon Council takes action in less than 1% of cases. Even more scandlously only one fine has ever been imposed on a resident in Addiscombe, though the private company has given out 1,500 fines in the Town Centre for dropping cigarette butts, they have clearly gone for the easy pickings.

Instead of working with local residents and shop keepers to work out a better solution to this issue, Croydon Conservatives claim there is no need for change and attack Addiscombe Councillors for “being keen for residents who live about shops should get a better service”. Providing a better service to these residents will make Addiscombe a cleaner and greener place, which all residents will benefit from. It is a shame that Gavin Barwell MP and local Tory candidates have come out against helping local residents to improve their local shopping parades and streets. Addiscombe Labour is committed to making sure that higher level of resources are directed towards more street cleaning, and helping all residents to dispose of their waste in a responsible manner, and to tackle more effectively those who wilfully dump by employing staff who will walk our local streets, tackling local problems.

About Sean

Councillor for Addiscombe Ward, 1994-2006, re-elected in May 2010 along with Mark Watson and Patricia Hay-Justice. Since May 2014 Chair of Scrutiny. Lives locally in Addiscombe.

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