Demand for urgent action over river of litter and waste in Athelstan Road

Dumped rubbish Photo Luke McLean

Photos Luke McLean

A river of dumped nappies, drink cans, household waste, a shoe and broken tiles can be seen in the gap running between the hoarding and wall at the former car wash site on the corner of Athelstan Road in Cliftonville.

Mounds of rubbish are continually being dumped in the spot where paladin bins had been sited until the end of October last year when they were removed.

It was hoped that getting rid of the bins, that were constantly overflowing and attracting seagulls which spread the rubbish even further, would solve an ongoing issue of flytipping. Seagull proof bags or black wheelie bins were issued to residents and a twice daily removal of any rubbish at the site was promised by Thanet council.

But more than eight months on residents are still plagued by streets filled with litter and dumped goods and a half finished hoarding at the car wash site.

A new weekly litter pick organised by residents has been clearing eight to 10 bags of trash just from the hoarding ‘gulley’ each time.

Athelstan Road Tenants and Residents Association says enforcement has got to take place.

A spokesperson said: “Despite every apparent effort by ward councillors – particularly Cllr Alan Currie – almost nine months after the two Northdown Road end paladin bins were removed, on very longstanding and well established public health, fly tipping, dumping and misuse concerns by the community, ARTRA and council officers, the former car wash site on the corner of Athelstan Road and Northdown Road is still being used as landfill.

“This is not only by the tenants of certain HMOs, whose landlords have failed to comply with Selective Licensing officer requirements to provide their tenants with their own on-site waste storage, but also by people driving from other parts of Margate and/or Thanet, to effectively dump their trash on our doorsteps.

“Athelstan Road ought to be as civilised and clean a place to live as anywhere in the district, but with a total lack of enforcement – fining non-compliant rogue landlords significant financial penalties – the dignity which everyone is entitled to is denied the Athelstan Road community, as long as the tenants in two particular blocks literally have nowhere to put their household waste.

“It shouldn’t take nine months to enforce something as basic as a space for wheelie bins and/or seagull proof bags, but until TDC officers and executives impose significant fines on non-compliant landlords, this matter will continue to make several Cliftonville West streets some of the most dystopian in the district, if not the UK.

“Swarms of seagulls are habituated to ripping up bin bags of rotting domestic waste, including nappies and sanitary wear, dumped on the pavement, as well as the inadequate corner site boundary hoarding and the former car wash forecourt itself.

“This starts at 4:45am daily, causing sleep deprivation for the whole community, due to the presence of many dozens, if not hundreds of scavenging seagulls.

“Despite always having enjoyed a very positive two way relationship with all ward councillors, ARTRA is now calling time on this matter and demands urgent action.”

Cllr Alan Currie

Cllr Currie said: “As we all know there has been rubbish and fly tipping issues on Athelstan Road and nearby roads for many years now, one of the main problems was the misuse of the communal bins, after many months of liaising with council officers, waste and recycling, leafleting all residents with information and the issuing of wheeled black bins to all residents where storage was possible, the two large bins by the car wash were removed, extra bins and recycling bags were issued as and when requested by residents in both Athelstan and Ethelbert Road.

“It became clear over time that many residents who live in the apartment blocks either side of the car wash in Northdown Road were still dumping their bin bags at the site instead of using other nearby communal bins.

“I have recently been informed by Thanet Council Selective Licensing that after officers visited this block a few weeks ago, wheeled bins will be provided at the rear of 75-85 Northdown Road for the residents to dispose of their household waste and these bins will be collected from Dalby Road on the normal collection.

“I have asked our street scene enforcement officer to contact the owners of the ex-car wash to request they fence off the entire area to prevent fly tipping and also ASB which is beginning to occur there since the site was closed.

“Regarding wider rubbish issues in Cliftonville West ward, I requested during a recent TDC members briefing attended by officers and management that communal recycling facilities need to be provided in the area. At present there are very few places local residents can dispose of plastics, glass, paper and cardboard.

“If things are to improve in Cliftonville West then recycling rates must improve and all fly tippers caught on CCTV issued with fines. I would also like to say a big thank you to all the volunteer litter pickers in and around the area, this really makes a big difference to our area. I can assure all residents that I am also doing my best as one of your elected ward councillors.”

A Thanet council spokesperson added: “The large domestic waste bins at the corner of Athelstan Road were removed last year, following feedback from the local community and the ward councillor. Our Waste and Recycling team has ensured that all the residents who previously used these bins now have the appropriate waste containers.

“However, because of the frequency of fly-tipped waste, our Enforcement team undertakes regular investigations and the Street Cleansing team attends this area daily to clear the waste.

“There is a Selective Licensing Scheme in place, meaning that landlords can be required to make suitable arrangements for the containment, storage, and disposal of waste. Unfortunately not all properties are subject to this requirement, owing to the type of selective licence issued. Selective licensing cannot always be applied to the common parts of properties at which there are multiple owners.

“Nevertheless, the council’s Housing Licensing team consistently endeavours to help resolve any such issues brought to its attention, in collaboration with the council’s Streetscene team. There are four known properties on Northdown Road that are causing issues and these properties have been served Section S46 Notices (to contain their waste).

“We appreciate the frustration of residents who are trying to do the right thing and see others flouting the rules and dumping waste in the area. Selective Licensing, Streetscene Enforcement and Street Cleansing teams will continue to work in partnership to address these challenges and achieve an improvement in the location.”


  1. Maybe it is a stupid question, but has a meeting with the local community taken place, to find out why they continue to dump garbage on the street?

  2. Hi, this will be shut down like the debate on travellers but I am afraid the rubbish is down to immigrants not understanding how to behave. Their countries just dump crap everywhere. We have all been on holiday to Bulgaria n Turkey and seen how it is. I am not saying Brits don’t litter but I live near there and I see who dumps n who don’t…

    • I haven’t been to Bulgaria or Turkey but I lived in Newham for over 20 years.The population there consists of 16% British-born residents and 84% who weren’t born in Britain. Most people in Newham do not dump rubbish in the streets. I therefore do not think that the situation in Cliftonville exists because of people’s nationality.

    • If you see who dumps, why don’t you report it and help get the fly tippers prosecuted?
      Or are your comments a load of rubbish?

    • There’s most likely a camera that covers the area, but you are reliant on an operator taking an interest ( if there is an operator ). Then even if you can determine a repeat offender ( last time i spoke to council an offender has to be caught 3 times in a 12 month period to be prosecuted) they’d need to be identified and traced ( all within the constraints of the law). Then they’d need to be interviewedd and reason for their behaviour investigated. IF a non native english speaker is involved interpreters may be required. The council is very reluctant to actually prosecute. If they do, the sanction is likely to be little more than a fine which given the culprits behaviour likely won’t get paid, so what happens then? Whole process costs a fortune and acieves little.
      Put the bulk bins back and get people to use them properly. Recycling in cliftonville is a pointless exercise which is why its not done. Its a waste of time pandering to the vocal minority who’ve chosen to live in a very small area where the majority of the residents have their own rules. The area has been cheap for a reason, the people that make up a sizeable portion of the residents are the reason in large part.
      As for the harping on about landlords and selective licensing if it were that cut and dried the scheme gave TDC extensive powers to deal with things, that after 10 years there are still so many problems rather suggests the answer is not so conveniently simple.

  3. well said by THE TRUTH – at least its whats realy going on , as seen by an eye witness to this ghetto , theres far to many do gooders that want to hide the truth and sugar coat everything

  4. TDC’s strategic genius coming to the fore again.

    Trying to solve a problem with rubbish by removing bins.

    The mind boggles.

  5. It was monumental stupidity to remove the big steel eurobins.
    What was needed was more of them and more frequent emptying on an as and when required basis
    And now another Residents Association in Dalby Sq want to have the bins there removed as well.
    The person running it who is a recent arrival from London says they are unsightly. She wants gentirification of the area.
    Not as unsightly as rubbish strewn about everywhere
    How stupid can you get?

    • The bins in Harold Rd were piled high with rubbish and all around them, blowing everywhere etc even though they were emptied twice a day. People know this and used it as a dump… The bins were removed and within two weeks no rubbish anymore. The bins are a magnet and unnecessary, every single house has a weekly collection and the municipal tip is mins away. Laziness is all it is.

      • Get your facts right – The big bins in Harold Rd have NOT been removed and are emptied once a week and are used responsibly

        Drive down there and check for yourself

        • To be fair to TDC the bins in Dalby Square are checked frequently and emptied as required , on one day they were emptied 3 times that i saw.
          The biggest change in the rubbish problem was when collections went from the refuse crews collecting from bin stores to kerbside collections. Residents were quite happy to put refuse in the stores but not so good at putting it out on the right day and more often than not at least one flat in a block neglected to do so, the ensuing sagas of rotting rubbish were what prompted a number of landlords to close the refuse areas. That along with TDC never checking to see if bin stores were built as required by planning conditions until it was too late ( ie complaints made).
          In addition even where stores were in compliance with planning the fire service deemed some to be a hazard and they were closed , resulting in bins then being placed on the pavement. TDC panders to some blocks by having bulk bins right outside rather than expect residents to walk a short distance to a communal area.
          Nothing is impossible but much relies on responsible use of the facilities provided.

        • I live in Harold Rd and the bins in the car park next to Creature Comforts where removed as described. Get your facts right

    • Gentification : the process of making someone or something more refined, polite, or respectable.

      What’s not to like.

  6. Gentrification: a process which often involves making local property so expensive that less well-off people can’t afford it.

  7. Start looking for the real answer to the problem – make TDC and KCC abandon their restrictions on the recycling centre. The sheer stupidity of having to make an appointment to dump rubbish and the folly of charging for householder to dispose of building waste is why we have a huge fly tipping problem.
    Get an appointment and watch the number of staff just standing doing nothing and often watching elderly people struggle with bags of rubbish. Remember we are paying for this inefficient system,add on the incredible 4 to 6 months to replace or repair bins and bags and you will see why our council tax rises every year.

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