Margate mum of two Michaela Pocock and her eight year old daughter have to wade through this appalling mess every time they leave home for the school run.
The 42 year old says she has been pleading with Thanet council for three years to have a regular clean up of the alley behind her home in Margate High Street.
Unlike other properties running alongside, Michaela’s front door access is in the alleyway – meaning every time the family leaves the property they have to wade through rubbish, faeces, broken bottles, syringes and even, currently, a burnt out motorbike.
Michaela, who works at The Hoy, has lived at the property above the former Holland and Barrett shop with partner Neil Adams, their daughter, eight, and 20-year-old son, for four years.
She says the property is lovely but the alleyway rubbish is horrendous.
To add to the problems, not a single streetlight in the alley works so the family often have to navigate their way over the debris in the pitch dark.
Michaela said: “The streetlights have never worked. I phoned Kent County Council and they kept saying they would do it but didn’t. I gave up in the end.
“The rubbish wasn’t always a problem. When we first lived here there was a street cleaner called Malcolm who was a real credit but three years ago he was moved to Ramsgate.
“Since then it has just got worse. It has got to the point where me and my husband are cleaning it up anytime we have a visitor. It’s embarrassing and when my nan, who is 96, comes in her wheelchair we can’t get her down there because the mess is so bad.
“I’ve had enough. We pay our council tax, we both work, in fact my husband cleans the streets for Westgate Town Council so he leaves their lovely clean streets and comes home to this.
“There are stolen motorbikes being burnt there, human faeces, needles, smashed bottles, nappies, a homeless guy living one end and another who uses the alley as his toilet. Seriously, I’m going to have a breakdown if this doesn’t get sorted out.”
Michaela says she has reported the problems numerous times to Thanet council. A report on December 19, in the hope of getting the site cleared before her nan came for Christmas Day, is apparently still on TDC’s ‘to do’ list, Michaela was told when she went to the offices yet again this morning (January 4).
Ward councillor Iris Johnston has also had no luck in getting the issue resolved and has resorted to rolling up her sleeves and helping Michaela clear up the mess.
Michaela says she has checked deeds and the land belongs to the council but her catalogue of complaints just isn’t receiving any attention.
She said: “I have been to the council so many times, I just want something done but can’t seem to get any action. They should be cleaning it on a regular basis. It is disgusting but it is also dangerous. I’m terrified that my property will go up in flames if another bike gets dumped and burnt there, the fire engines would have no chance of getting anywhere near my property.”
And it seems Michaela is not the only person having issues. Others have also been posting to social media with their own pictures of rubbish strewn streets.
This is my street today in Cliftonville. So yeah, let’s prioritise a royal yacht and then, if there’s any money left over, let’s sort out the piles of crap on the streets of east Kent. pic.twitter.com/R8cOOR6G8b
— Simon Bell (@simonbell99) January 4, 2018
So @ThanetCouncil I litter picked just a quarter of my street for you today and will again report issues via email/app. But please, we need some street cleaning in Cliftonville. pic.twitter.com/6XJf3fGrKq
— Jo Goodson (@GoodsonJoanne) December 31, 2017
A Thanet council spokesman said: “Our street cleansing teams work hard across Thanet to keep on top of this problem and the alleyway will be cleared by this Saturday.
“Littering and fly-tipping are ongoing issues in alleyways such as this one and the council will not hesitate to prosecute those responsible through fixed penalty notices.
“It is important to realise that while the council has a responsibility to remove litter and fly-tipped waste from public property, residents or businesses should be aware that they may be responsible for certain unadopted alleyways next to their property.
“In those cases, it is their responsibility to keep them clear as the council is not responsible for the cleaning or maintenance of private land or unadopted alleyways.
“Residents can report issues with littering and fly-tipping online at https://forms.thanet.gov.uk/forms/form/9/en/fly_tipping – or via the MyThanetApp which can be downloaded from Google Play or Apple iTunes.”
Cliftonville West is a terrible mess with tons of litter left on the streets. We need more cleaners. Take a look along the cliff edge on the upper promenade too as that is disgusting. It is just building up and up. Some of it has been left for years and is entwined in the undergrowth. Dog mess everywhere too. Litter bins all over Thanet are left stuffed solid. What on earth is the Council doing? It should prioritise cleanliness of the area as top. What happened to the Enforcement Officers that went round dealing with these problems when residents fly tip rubbish. Some properties have constant filth and mess in front of them, have done for many years, it’s prolific but no enforcement action is ever taken against the owners or Landlords/Agents. Complaints are not being dealt with either.
We live opposite this alleyway and continually complained about the litter being blown down our street from the alley. The alleyway is used by several homeless, junkies, dealers and those who simply don’t care. The council love this term ‘adopted alleyway’ which is basically a term for we cannot be ars*ed.
We also asked for the alleyway to be closed by security gates, allowing access only for residents, but TDC simply said it was a matter for KCC. The wasted department is awful and headed by a manger who seems unable to respond to emails (certainly not mine).
I’m happy to clean my share, but the council need to make a far bigger effort. Especially if they want to improve Margate; as per their Local Plan.
Can you give the non working light number to confirm it is a kcc responsibility, Kent County councillor Barry Lewis
It’s all very well demanding that the Council clears up the rubbish, but local taxpayers have to foot the bill for doing this. The real solution here is for individuals to stop littering. I frequently see people, who can’t be bothered to put their bins out to be collected on the appropriate day, shoving a bag of their rubbish into a litterbin on a street corner. Inevitably, once the litterbin is full, louts who can’t be bothered to take their rubbish home with them just throw it on the floor. The problem is being exacerbated because the appalling attitudes of some parents have been passed on to their offspring. It is not uncommon to see children throwing rubbish on the floor and saying that it is someone else’s job to clean it up. “That’s what he’s paid to do” they say of the street cleaners. I’d like to see littering become socially unacceptable. I would like to see more enforcement with substantial fines and I would like to see those convicted of littering publicly shamed.
re: The real solution here is for individuals to stop littering
While this may be true, unfortunately the chances of this happening are virtually nil. IT would require the council to setup CCTV to be monitoring the locations to collect evidence of the people littering and then for the council to take action against them. But even then it probably will not stop them. The dirty scumbags would just try to be more sneaky with their littering or do it somewhere else.
DUMPING RUBBISH, DROPPING LITTER, is an offence.
Why put blame on the TDC, when it is the disgusting Resident’s of these areas who DUMP & DROP their own litter, making their own filthy mess.
You make the mess, you live in it! (or clean it up yourselves!).
TDC seem to have stopped cleaning several areas in Ramsgate too. We regularly had a friendly roadsweeper until about two years ago, now we never see one. Ditto KCC and lighting – they at least acknowledge faults, but then ignore them saying “further action is required”
Every alley is like it ,I cycle to work in Ramsgate and everyday there is dog muck, in or out of bags, cans, dumped stuff, these are public paths, bridle paths yet nothing is cleared,vine close prestege etc , why do I pay my council tax !!! also wasn’t it stated that after a bin collection a team would be round to finish the road by sweeping etc, what happened to that?
Ramsgate just the same, foot paths full of dog mess, dumped litter, west dumpton is a disgrace, wheres the litter pickers, we pay our council tax so why no return,why do our streets look a mess after bin collection when they stated there would be a follow up clean up team, never happened ,!
This is bedsit land and flats. You can’t expect people to have the rubbish in their flats and bedsits for 3 weeks. By all accounts the bins weren’t empty before Christmas and not been emptied since. TDC have to accept their failings here and accept they can’t provide a basic provision. This is not a new thing, just excascerbated by the time of year and the factmore waste is made at Christmas, something TDC fail to realise.
We all have to segregate our rubbish. Cardboard, glass, plastics and food waste all go in different receptacles. If it’s all flattened out a couple of week’s of waste doesn’t take up too much space. The only waste which would smell is the food waste and this should be sealed in the biodegradable food waste bags. It’s too easy to absolve people of responsibility for dealing with their own waste by saying that they live in a bed-sit.
More than likely they’ll be a statement out by the council saying how well they’ve done and what they’ve been doing how many bags of rubbish they’ve cleared in such a such time with a photo pinned to it with the deputy leaders photo smiling at you. Because L Fairbrass presides over this in her remit. But of course the photos of the streams of rubbish across the isle tells you how it really is and real people tell you from their experiences of living in the thick of it. They wake up to this kind of rubbish. Another thing that’s very wrong is calling the residents scummy, your painting all that live in areas with lots of litter problems as scummy people. Shameful way to generalise a problem. It’s obvious to me that this is an issue although heightened in Cliftonville West is infact across many areas such as Margate and Ramsgate, so your saying all those people are scummy and it’s not that the rubbish isn’t being handled well by our lovely competent council.