Depressed at the litter-strewn state of Eastbourne streets

Litter items included drink cans, bottle tops, nylon rope and numerous small pieces of plastic SUS-181030-130837003
Litter items included drink cans, bottle tops, nylon rope and numerous small pieces of plastic SUS-181030-130837003

From: Graham Smith

Upland Road

I read with sadness Mike Grant’s letter click here to read re: litter in the Redoubt area of Eastbourne, and can only echo his frustration at the current state of our streets.

I have been a resident of Eastbourne for 10 years, and one who enjoys living in this lovely town, but I have become depressed – there is no better word for it – at the dirty state of the streets over the past few years, and the amount of litter which blights them, even in the town centre.

As a member of the Eastbourne Society (an organisation which ‘cares for the town’s heritage and plays an active role in future developments in the town and surrounding area’) and a volunteer at the Heritage Centre in Carlisle Road, I feel desperately disappointed that the council does not consider adequate street cleaning to be a top priority, given Eastbourne’s natural assets (the Downs and the beautiful seafront) and its position as one of the country’s premier resorts.

At the June 2018 meeting of the Eastbourne Society, I asked David Tutt, the guest speaker and leader of the council, if he could tell me how often Paradise Drive (a beautiful tree-lined road adjoining the Royal Eastbourne golf course) is cleaned by street cleaners, as it had become increasingly litter-strewn over the previous months.

He replied that, in common with many streets outside the town centre, it is never cleaned unless a problem is reported.

This is a shocking indictment of the council’s current contract with Kier, which is thankfully coming to an end later this year.

He advised that the best way to ensure that litter is collected is to download an app – ‘Report It’ – onto my mobile phone, then take photos of the litter, write a short report and send these to the council.

Then, and only then, would the rubbish be removed, within three days.

Yes, I can do this, and have done so on several occasions in other streets around the town (with mixed results, frankly, as sometimes only the rubbish in the photos has been removed, not other litter in those streets), but doing so is way beyond the capabilities of many of Eastbourne’s residents and, frankly, not what we, as council taxpayers, should be expected to do.

When out for a walk on the seafront or around Paradise Drive, I now almost always take a plastic bag and a garden glove with me, and collect litter, to avoid having to photograph the rubbish, write a report and send it off.

On two occasions, I have met a man who does the same as me, along the seafront, on a regular and frequent basis, even buying his large extra-strong bin bags on Amazon.

On Paradise Drive, I have been thanked by two local residents, who are also appalled by the state of the street.

Like Mike Grant, I appreciate that cutbacks are a reality nowadays, but consider a total lack of street cleaning in most parts of town to be a shocking abnegation of a council’s duty.

I sincerely hope that, once the council has the cleaning contract back ‘in house’, we will see a rapid and marked improvement in the state of our streets.

A final point – last autumn, I took part in a beach clean, one of many organised each year by the Marine Conservation Society, and there were more than 50 volunteers on the day.

I wonder if such a thing could be ever be considered for our streets?

I would certainly be amongst the first to sign up.