Croydon fly-tipping: ‘Dangerous and unsightly’

Fly tipping. Pic: Alice Chapman

A Fly-tipping spot in Croydon is causing outrage among residents, an eye sore which they describe as “dangerous and unsightly”.

The spot is located on Purley Way, south Croydon, and is visible from the roadside and local park, a constant “unsightly” scene for frequent passers-by.

There is a low and damaged fence around the area, providing easy access for those who wish to deposit their junk, which is anything from broken furniture, old mattresses, bin bags filled to the brim with dog excrement and rusting shopping trolleys.

Dog excrement at the sight. Pic: Alice Chapman

Until the end of summer 2022, the site was a Sports Direct gym, and heaps of waste have started accumulating since its closure.

‘Losing customers’

Local businessman Smit Patel told Eastlondonlines he was losing customers due to the mess in the area.

“You can see how bad this whole area is with rubbish. It’s not just this one spot, it stops us from getting so many customers.

“Many of them complain about the sight.”

Patel added: “[I’ve] called the council at least five or six times, but they have not done anything. No one has come up here. Sometimes we even have to clean it ourselves, just in order to keep our customers.”

There is a layby right next to the site, providing easy access to those who wish to dump their unloved belongings, and an easy exit for their getaway.

The location is also close to the Croydon Aerodrome memorial for the Battle of Britain, and large playing fields. The playing fields are an area for people to come and enjoy being outdoors in nature, a spot to relax.

Patel suggested that the area had potential and the park could be a nice place to visit if it wasn’t “just trash”.

The fact that these spots are so close together makes it “even more unsightly”, quoted by residents on the MyLondon website. “It’s a stain on Croydon,” they added.

‘Horrific eyesore’

The ongoing issue may finally have a resolution, as the landowners have made a promise to do something about it.

The Purley-registered Spark Properties LTD has said the plot, which was bought for £1 million in January 2021, is in the process of being sold and has received a high amount of interest among potential buyers, who have zero tolerance for the fly-tipping that is taking place.

Local Councillors Rowenna Davies and Ellily Ponnuthurai say they have been ‘fighting for over a year to get it sorted’. They issued a joint statement, according to MyLondon.

“This fly-tip is a dangerous and unsightly mess in our community that urgently needs clearing,” said the two councillors.

“The freeholder has also expressed anger at illegal fly-tippers and says they’re finalising a deal with new leaseholders that will see the fly-tip cleared in a matter of weeks. We’ll do everything we can to support this horrific eyesore being cleared as fast as possible. Every second that mess remains there a child could get in and seriously hurt themselves. Fly-tipping remains a disgusting problem in Croydon as a whole.

“We need cheaper and easier ways for people to get rid of rubbish and robust enforcement action to catch and prosecute offenders. An irresponsible minority should not be allowed to get away with inflicting their garbage on the rest of us.”

Despite this news that might sound hopeful, when Eastlondonlines relayed the information to Patel, he responded: “A few weeks ago someone came, but all they have taken is the big chairs, that’s it. They haven’t done anything other than that, and this problem has been going on for years.”

The sight. Pic: Alice Chapman

This is not the only spot that is being used as a fly-tipping site within Croydon. Residents believe this is an outcome of a far wider problem.

Litter Free Norbury, a campaign group that focuses on the issue, was quoted by MyLondon: “The bottom line is that the borough of Croydon is plagued by fly-tipping from all sorts. From the residents not wanting to recycle, to the industrial size fly-tip like this one.

“There are also rogue waste removal companies, rogue landlords, and even local businesses without any waste management contract i.e a few restaurants. Cost cutting exercises from all sides, as well as rising costs just make it worse. All in all, greed is the cause of this issue and hopefully people will understand that we should not compromise on our environment.”

People caught fly-tipping can be fined £50,000, or unlimited if the case goes to the crown court, and a potential prison sentence of up to five years.                                                                                

Litter Free Norbury have suggested that a CCTV camera could easily identify those responsible for the fly-tipping. A similar method was recently implicated in the neighbouring Merton council, which has allocated funding for CCTV in crime hotspots across the borough.

Croydon Council current policy on fly-tipping suggests that residents report it via the Love Clean Streets app, or call the environmental agency. They say that if the fly-tipping is on private land, the landowner is responsible for removing the waste. The council will charge for their service if it is required.

Croydon Council was approached for comment but declined, saying it’s a matter for the Environment Agency.

The sight. Pic: Alice Chapman

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