Neigh­bours’ fury over mess on foot­path

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - by Sam Len­non slen­non@thek­m­

A NEIGH­BOUR­HOOD, a school and the bor­ough coun­cil have been locked in an 18-month wran­gle over a rub­bish-strewn foot­path.

Res­i­dents in Ash­ford’s Es­sella Road com­plain that a path be­hind neigh­bour­ing Nor­ton Knatch­bull School is cov­ered in lit­ter and blame pupils for the mess.

But the school says its chil­dren can­not be re­spon­si­ble for all of it and said Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil turned down its re­quest for bins.

Let­ters be­tween the school and coun­cil over the mat­ter date back as far as Novem­ber 2007.

Pauline Smith, of the Es­sella Road Fo­rum res­i­dents’ group, said: “The path is a mess, strewn with rub­bish from pupils from the school.

“Many peo­ple have writ­ten to the head teacher to com­plain.

“My hus­band and I spent four hours one Sun­day and filled seven black bags of cans, crisp pack­ets, sweet wrap­pers and fish and chip pa­pers.”

The foot­path runs from Gor­don Close to Joeys Wood.

Head teacher John Speller said while his pupils might be re­spon­si­ble for some of the rub­bish, the rest could be caused by other foot­path users.

He said: “I can­not ac­cept that it is all down to our pupils. But we ask them to re­spect our neigh­bours and we would im­pose sanc­tions on cul­prits.

“I wrote to Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil ask­ing for it to pro­vide two or three lit­ter bins, which would be a very sim­ple so­lu­tion. It wrote back ba­si­cally say­ing ‘no’.”

Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil had turned down the re­quest, say­ing the bins would cost up to £300 and there was no bud­get for it.

A spokesman for the coun­cil’s en­vi­ron­men­tal ser­vices depart­ment said: “We are aware lit­ter in this lo­ca­tion is a con­stant cause for con­cern and we have pre­vi­ously ex­plained that the foot­path in ques­tion does not be­long to Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil and that we have no le­gal obli­ga­tion to clear lit­ter from this lo­ca­tion.

“De­spite this be­ing the case we have, over the years, tried to im­prove the en­vi­ron­ment for lo­cal res­i­dents and the school by or­gan­is­ing lit­ter-picks in the area. Most re­cently we have worked with Clean Kent to or­gan­ise a lit­ter-pick of the al­ley­way at the rear of the school ev­ery four weeks.

“We be­lieve the neigh­bour­ing al­lot­ment hold­ers also carry out reg­u­lar lit­ter-picks in the area. Due to bud­get con­straints we are not in a po­si­tion to pro­vide any fur­ther lit­ter bins in the area.”

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