Children ‘navigating their way around piles of rubbish’ to get to Northdown Park play area

Cedric, Blake and Scott collected litter as bins overflowed at Northdown Park

“I do not want children navigating their way around piles of rubbish to get to the climbing frames and swings,” says litter pick volunteer Scott Manclark as the overflowing bin problem continues at Northdown Park.

This week rubbish scattered across the path and grass by the play park was  cleared away by Thanet councillor Cedric Towning, his wife Avril, grandson Blake and, towards the end of the clean up, dad-of-two Scott.

Cllr Towning has again reported the issue to Thanet council and says he will continue to pursue a solution.

Scott, who is a member of the Palm Bay and Northdown Community group says Thanet council needs to focus more resources on open spaces and play areas, especially during the summer holidays.

The Pfizer worker, who is often assisted in his clean-up missions by his young daughters Holly and Sophia, says council cleaner teams are understaffed and under pressure.

He added: “The bins are not getting emptied. The previous council portfolio holder said they were done every day but I know that is not the case because I put the date on my bags (of collected litter) and sometimes they are there three or four days.

“We have been fighting this battle for over a year and it isn’t just Northdown Park, Dane Park is even worse. I sympathise with the staff who physically empty the bins, they are understaffed and under so much pressure.

“The current portfolio holder (for cleaning services) needs to get time and money invested to get teams up to scratch so they can do the job, especially in the summer holidays when the bins fill up quickly.

“The council made a big thing about hiring contract cleaners for the beach but they need more in open spaces and play areas.

“People should take their rubbish home if the bins are full but unfortunately not everyone does that.”

Scott says another issue is when bags are filled by volunteers they are not always collected.

He added: “One volunteer collected two bags and put them by the bins but they weren’t picked up and the seagulls had been at them. Some of the volunteers ask why we are doing it if the bins are not then being emptied.

“It can be really disheartening when you are all trying to make a difference and trying to improve the place we live in but all those efforts are undermined when bins aren’t emptied and litter is just left behind.

“That’s why Cedric and his family picked it up this week, I think he was as gobsmacked at the mess as I was.

“We know the teams are really stretched but the fact children are having to play around it is unacceptable and that is why the council portfolio holder must act urgently.”

Thanet council says dropping litter of any kind is an offence and could result in an on the spot £100 fine, this includes dropping cigarette butts or leaving litter next to bins that are already full.

Last year Thanet council collected over 5 tonnes of litter from parks, streets and beaches.

How Thanet District Council tackles litter

TDC provide and empty over 400 litter bins across the district. In the summer months they have an additional 180 bins in busy locations.

TDC has a dedicated team of street cleansing staff who work 7 days a week from 6.00am to 8.00pm (6.00pm in the winter) Monday to Friday and 6.00am to 2.30pm Saturday and Sunday

Additional street cleansing staff are taken on over the summer months.

Monthly inspections are carried out to monitor standards.

High footfall areas such as town centres are swept daily and mechanical sweepers are out frequently in all other areas.

TDC prioritises reports of increased litter in public areas


  1. When the council announced that they were increasing the number of bins I commented that they would not make any difference because they could not empty the ones they already had, I REST My Case.

  2. The litter put into these bins is NOT litter as one would think it is. It’s often household rubbish from those who live near by it’s also from motorhomes and cars and vans having a clear out and to add to that builders put house bricks in them especially now avoiding paying at the tip. Putting the
    staff who empty the bins at risk of injuries from the weight and the contents within the sack.

  3. I have sympathy with Cllr Towner and others battling against a tide of litter in Northdown Park children’s play area, but as many people know the issues of rubbish are not exclusively in parks. Many streets and roads in Thanet are littered with rubbish and if it wasn’t for community minded residents who spend their own time picking up/collecting litter it would be a lot worse.

    I certainly do not blame the understaffed waste & cleansing team who are battling an impossible task with tide of filth created by some residents and visitors. My road in Ramsgate has not seen a street cleaner for months and I have given up on Thanet Council and litter pick the road myself collecting at least a black sack full of litter on a fortnightly basis for the bin men to take away plus tin cans/plastic bottles that go in my blue recycling bin.

    I suggest the Cabinet Member responsible for waste management gets his overalls on and goes out with the bin men, street cleaners etc and gets stuck in for a couple of days to see the issues and problems that Thanet Council are not addressing and not just go out for a photo opportunity.


  4. the open bins are useless I watched several crows hopping into these type of bins and it was amazing how they were throwing stuff out for others to pick through, birds are not stupid just some humans

  5. It’s no good litter picking and leaving the bags next to the litter bins where seagulls congregate as they will be ripped open in no time and you are back to square one again.
    TDC are not friendly when you inform them that a bin needs emptying or a missed bin has happened. There needs to be an overhaul in the offices and more staff employed to empty bins regularly. It’s no good transferring them all to the beaches during summer. The mechanical sweeper just drives past all the parked vehicles in Northdown Road and never attempts the side roads that have been left for months. Some roads never get swept at all, including Princess Margaret Avenue near Northdown Park where a filthy old shirt has been in the gutter by a bus stop since early last year.

  6. It is easy to blame TDC but an equal part of the blame is on those who leave their litter lying around and not taking it home when they see the bins are full.

  7. I have also spoken to Cllr Bayford the cabinet member responsible for rubbish and bins I also pointed out that there is a shortage of bins on Palm Bay Avenue one outside the school and the nearest to that is at the bottom of Northumberland Avenue. The same excuse is used ‘There is no additional money for this’. So I won’t stop until we get Cliftonville East sorted.

    • ‘Won’t stop until you get Clitonville East sorted’ Bravo! How about the rest of Thanet and before you say that’s your Councillors in your areas job, all my local Councillors are hardworking but come up against a brick wall. Maybe you can have a word in the right ear and see if some of the money earmarked to be wasted on Dreamland (4 million) can be channelled into cleaning up Thanet in general! Before you or anyone else responds and says that’s breaking accounting rules etc etc there are ways and means to do anything if want to. But Thanet Council seems to have a can’t do won’t do culture.

  8. Either increase the frequency of emptying the bins or increase the size of the bins so that the frequency can be reduced. A win-win for us all.

  9. It is really good of the volunteers to litter pick the parks, but if they are just going to leave the rubbish next to the bins that they them self say are not being emptied. It seems a bit pointless.

    • Dogshit is left on the ground because dog owners (“dog custodians”) can’t be bothered to clear it up.

      • I thought you’d rear Marva I have never met a dog yet that can pick up it’s own poo so yes Marva it is the lazy people that’s PEOPLE and you’ve learnt what a custodian is you clever girl so do not blame dogs for the inability of people to do what they should do PEOPLE Marva ruddy people and by the way way your language has become quite disgusting recently

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