Tackling rubbish and crime in Athelstan Road: Residents launch litter picks and Task Force pledges two year scheme of action

The litter pick was led by Laura (front)

A concerted effort to clean up Athelstan Road and surrounding streets in Cliftonville – both of rubbish and tackling antisocial behaviour and property/tenancy issues – is underway by residents and the Thanet Multi-Agency Task Force (MTF).

Last week Athelstan Road had its first litter pick since ex-serviceman Wayne Dixon – and his dog Koda – visited Thanet two years ago as part of his UK coastal clean up mission.

The latest pick was organised by resident Laura Zabo, who has been living in Athelstan Road since March. Laura believes that ‘living in a clean environment should be our minimum standard’.

She said: “I’ve been doing litter picking since 2010, first in Budapest. I’ve lived in many places, such as France and Spain and I do litter picking everywhere!”

The litter pick focused on the corner of the former car wash site and was attended by Clare Stephens, of Dalby Square, Dosh Archer, of Margate Old Town, Matt Shoul, ARTRA (Athelstan Road Tenants & Residents’ Association) chairperson and several residents. It will now take place every Tuesday from 5pm.

ARTRA, along with Cliftonville West ward councillor Alan Currie, say there are continuing concerns that some of the area’s landlords are ignoring Selective Licensing attempts to get properties to organise their own on-site waste storage.

They say the tenants living in these properties haven’t had anywhere to put their household waste since the paladin bins were removed approximately 6 months ago.

Chairman Matt Shoul said: “ARTRA is deeply concerned at the lack of TDC enforcement action against these landlords as the waste management situation is so desperately poor in this particularly high population density part of Cliftonville West.

“ARTRA is extremely grateful for all Cllr Currie’s proactive support on the transition to a paladin bin free road, but the time for Thanet council to take action on the non-compliance of landlords in adjacent streets is well overdue.”

But Thanet council says action is being taken with a two year programme now underway concentrating on tackling a wide range of issues in Athelstan and Ethelbert roads.

The Thanet Multi-agency Task Force (MTF) scheme aims to achieve long-term reductions in both crime and anti-social behaviour as well as improving the appearance of the area by working directly with residents and businesses.

Since the MTF expanded to cover the whole of Thanet in 2018, the team has successfully delivered 14 projects to protect and support the most vulnerable people and families in the district.

Originally set up as Margate Task Force in 2009 the move to cover the whole district resulted in a rebrand last year to the Thanet Multi-agency Task Force (MTF).

Photo MTF

Talking about the latest programme in Cliftonville, a council spokesperson said: “This project is a good example of the MTF’s new approach. By analysing data across all of its partner agencies and speaking to residents, two key issues were presented – transience of the population and the physical environment.

“Specific project aims include increased tenancy sustainment and an improvement in the visual quality of the two streets.

Plans will: Focus on families with young children; Reduce crime and ASB; Reduce fire incidents; Bring people closer to ‘suitability for work; Improve the physical environment   and reduce complaints about the area.

“It is estimated that by working with residents and businesses, the project will save around £10 million over the two year period.”

As COVID-19 restrictions continue to lift, the team will also be resuming Neighbourhood Engagement Days.

Mr Shoul says he has been told by Task Force boss Eden Geddes that a potential £70,000 for CCTV and a linear garden project in the Athelstan alleyway are also included in the two year scheme. These details are yet to be confirmed by Thanet council but will be a topic of discussion when ARTRA resumes its meetings shortly.

During the pandemic last year the MTF:

  • Conducted 1,800 home visits
  • Delivered 6,000 hot meals delivered
  • Received 98 agency referrals (28% increase from previous year) related to issues such as drug and alcohol use, mental health, social issues and criminal activity.
  • Completed 14 projects (9 of which received dedicated SARA approaches)
  • Home visits resulted in 127 additional referrals
  • Secured £100,000 in funding
  • Provided COVID-19 support in the community

This year the Task Force will also focus on areas including county lines and exploitation; supporting people currently experiencing or at risk of domestic abuse and reducing the risks to people from serious and organised crime

Future plans include developing a support programme for care leavers; a multi agency response to issues of exploitation and early intervention in suicide risk cases.

Find out more about the MTF here


  1. The council has just sen the end of 10 years of selective licensing in the area, a scheme that did little more than collect money thatthen seemed to do little. If 10 years is not enough time to solve issues with landlords would it beyond reason to suggest the problems lie elsewhere?

  2. thee truth , i am pleased to hear somebody speak the facts – theres to much of this woke nonsense ! while we are on the subject of rubbish and litter – how is it that the dossers that inhabit thanet are able to fill shop doorways up with filthy bedding , food wrappers , drinks bottles etc , and not a thing is done about it ? if i drop a dog end i can get an instant fine !

    • You understand my drift, cryptic is the way to stop the wokery censorship.
      They always censor thee truth

      • It seems to me the anti woke pillocks prefer people to be ill informed and ignorant, if being “woke” means being well informed, and socially/politically conscious!

        • Unfortunately, being ‘woke’ these days has nothing to do with being ‘well informed’ and ‘socially/politically conscious’ and everything to do with being terminally opinionated and completely devoid of any listening skills.

        • Dumpton – I object to being called a “pillock” particularly as I have a Ph.D. My opposition to the woke movement is political and intellectual; their arguments are superficial and largely tautological, and they employ the tactics of shouting and mob intimidation when openly challenged, precisely because a free and open debate will expose scarcity of their reasoning and that the majority of people just don’t buy into their philosophy.

      • Why don’t you just say straight out “I hate foreigners, especially ones who live in Thanet”?

  3. Cameras where supposed to be in place years ago. People drive from other streets and put bags in the bins at the bottom of Athelstan Road so residents are left with full bins. Cameras could be easily paid for by fining the culprits littering. Rubbish is always left at the car wash. I’ve seen a man in his 70s throw a bag there.

  4. There is no need to throw rubbish everywhere. TDC must not allow premises to become HMO’s where there is not enough household bins. They need to provide space for bins and enough for each tenant/room/bedsit/flat. If they cannot do that then no accommodation should be allowed to be provided.
    TDC could lead the way here and invest in underground bins in each street to be used for communal collections. If they can do this across the channel in many European cities and suburbs where no mess is seen on the streets then it is possible to do it here. It just takes forward thinking within a good local authority.

    • What you suggest has been the case for over 20 years. But the council never check to see if planning conditions are complied with. Then changes to collection of refuse came in which required residents to put their rubbish outside their property on the correct day in the vast majority of cases. Tenants didn’t do it, bin stores filled with rotting rubbish so landlords did away with them. We curently have the best compromise with the provision of bulk bins in addition to normal refuse collection. So any problems really down to behaviour ofresidents..
      There are also cultural issues, at a landlord event run by TDC some years back, a presentation about refuse made reference to it being common practice in some eastern european countries for rubbish to be just tossed into the street on some housing estates. Challenging those practices in cliftonville was said to be difficult.

  5. LC you are right. I’ve been to folkestone and witnessed this myself. Front door opens rubbish chucked straight out onto the street. Yet bins on street corner are empty. Christmas time was interesting playing dodge the box as you walk down the road. People today are so lazy. And they are impossible to educate. Out of site out of mind policy.

  6. Funny how that kid is also one the same little s**ts always smashing glass and crap up in the alleys

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