Neighbours’ fury over mess on footpath
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.”