Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Councillors pledge to tackle 'grot spots' caused by litter

HENLEY’S “grot spots” are to be cleaned up on the orders of town councillors.

It comes after complaints about an infestation of rats in Singers Park and litter, fly-tipping and overflowing bins in a number of other places.

The issue was discussed by members of the town council’s waste working group.

Councillor Will Hamilton said rats had been spotted in Singers Park, which is owned by the council.

“We have got a major problem down there,” he said. “There are overflowing bins and the whole area has been infested with rats.

“There were four rats at one time. They’re quite tame, I’m told.”

Town clerk Janet Wheeler said: “It’s not the remit of this council to get rid of them. We can get experts in to do it.”

Councillor David Eggleton said: “It’s very hard to get rid of rats by the riverside. That’s where they live. It doesn’t matter what you try to do — you’ll get rid of one lot and another will come back.”

He said the rats’ food source had to be stopped and their dens destroyed.

Councillor Stefan Gawrysiak, who chairs the group, said: “I will personally monitor that one and get it sorted.”

Other problems areas identified by the council include near the Regal cinema, Tuns Lane, the passageway near Sainsbury’s and Boots and the top of Friday Street.

Cllr Gawrysiak said: “The bins and the grot spots have been worked on. I think the grot spots need a bit more scrubbing and a bit more attention.”

Cllr Eggleton said there was a problem with fly-tipping in Friday Street and by the shops at the junction of Greys Road and King James Way, adding: “People are putting their household waste in the bins.”

Councillor David Nimmo Smith said: “People should not be fly-tipping and examples should be made of people doing that.”

The group heard that town manager Helen Barnett was planning a “hearts and minds” campaign aimed at traders and residents to keep the town clean and restore pride.

This would involve the launch of the “Henley Heroes” awards in October with a presentation ceremony in the spring.

Cllr Gawrysiak said: “If we get retailers to take responsibility for their frontage — sweep it, wash it — it’s going to increase footfall but they should actually have a bit of pride in their little patch.”

Deputy Mayor Lorraine Hillier, who runs the Hot Gossip coffee house in Friday Street, said: “I think on the whole people are very good about cleaning outside their shops. Vomit is an issue.

“I’ve had it on Friday Street more than once — you have to get lots of hot water. If we could win the ‘hearts and minds’ of members of the public… it works both ways.”

Councillor Nimmo Smith added: “Throwing up is not just in the town centre, I’ve seen it where I used to live on St Andrew’s Road.

“Over the years this town council has encouraged the shops to clean up outside — it picks up and then it drifts off.”

He said there was also a problem with smokers who dropped their cigarette butts in the street.

Cllr Eggleton said the only way to stop this was to issue on-the-spot fines to offenders.

l What do you think? Write to: Letters, Henley Standard, Caxton House, 1 Station Road, Henley, RG9 1AD or email letters@henleystandard.co.uk

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