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WALTHAM FOREST: Anger as rubbish piles up
Rubbish is still piling up on the streets of Waltham Forest.
Just two weeks ago we revealed how anger towards Kier Street Services, the organisation which is paid by the council to keep our neighbourhoods clean, was mounting by the day.
Some residents claim their streets have become so infested with uncollected rubbish, they have had to grab brooms and sweep them themselves.
And in an area where the average Band D tax payer forks out £1,440 a year in council tax, local people have threatened to withhold payment and have fired off petitions to the local authority.
In response, environment councillor Bob Belam declared earlier this month: “No part of the borough will be ignored or passed over in our efforts to make Waltham Forest a cleaner place.”
But as our pictures show, Kier are still doing a sub-standard job and the Guardian has demanded Cllr Belam lives up to his promise.
According to people living in Clifford Road and Bishops Close, both in Walthamstow, their pleas for trash to be collected more regularly have fallen on deaf ears.
“The rubbish has been there for about three or four weeks,” said Kieran Johnson, 27, of Clifford Road.
“On average, I call the council about two or three times a month.”
Mr Johnson, a teacher, bought his home about 18 months ago and said the problems had been constant since then.
“I’ve only seen a road sweeper once or twice – the council have said there are problems with staff shortages, but at the end of the day, they’re responsible for who they’re employing.”
Dr Sieglinde Dlabal has reported similar problems in Bishop’s Close, Walthamstow Village, which she claims is being overlooked by Kier.
She said that rubbish from the bins is not collected regularly, and the bins often overflow, allowing rubbish to blow into residents’ gardens.
She has complained directly to Cllr Belam as well as Naz Sarkar, ward councillor for Hoe Street, and Neil Gerrard MP, but to no avail.
“The streets in Walthamstow Village have never been so filthy,” she said. No matter and volunteers work to improve our area, this council manages to damage Walthamstow.”
Questions have also been raised over the £600,000 saving the council made by outsourcing street cleaning to Kier.
Fed-up James Pitman, of Winns Terrace, said: “Where is it going? And how did Kier get the job? They’ve failed miserably.”
He said that although Kier seemed to sweep his street more thoroughly after the Guardian publicised the problem, the street has deteriorated again.
“I find this so frustrating as the Kier group have almost got the job done and then let themselves down.
“Once streets have been cleaned, it seems the filled bags are left for collection on the corners of streets, even side streets,” he said.
“On Tuesday I returned from work to find the road a complete mess with hoards of leaves and rubbish cans boxes and general rubbish spread along the whole length of the street.”
Cllr Belam told the Guardian: “The £600,000 saving made when Kier were appointed has been retained within the street cleansing and grounds maintenance budget and has been used this year for intensive weed clearance, improving the maintenance of roadside shrub beds and improving the maintenance of our green flag parks.
“The remainder is currently being held in contingency and we anticipate using it for deep cleansing of our main roads.
“For the following year we will be using it to carry out further improvements to the street cleansing service such as carrying out intensive cleaning blitzes and extra night time cleaning.”