500 angry petitioners call on council to clean up Chafford
PUBLISHED: 13:00 14 July 2015 | UPDATED: 11:07 22 July 2015
More than 500 people have signed a petition calling on the council to do more to keep the area looking clean and tidy.
Overgrown hedges and unruly weeds are just some of the complaints shared on the change.org petition, which now (July 22) has 561 signatures.
Resident Tony Coleman, who has lived in the area for 19 years, launched the appeal after he started working from home more than a year ago.
He said: “I now have a dog that I take out for walks, and I have noticed that the playgrounds are overgrown, meaning children can’t play football. And both the cycle and walking paths are not maintained at all.
“The excuses we’ve had in the past is that we’ve got to protect wildlife. If I wanted to live in wildlife, I would have bought a house in the gorges.”
Since launching the petition Tony says the council has sent out gardeners to work on some of the problem areas, but have left the work “unfinished”, leaving grass trimmings blowing into the road.
A council spokesman told the Chafford Hundred Magazine it has never picked up the grass cuttings due to its high cost.
He said: “The priority for workers during the peak growing season is to get areas cut to acceptable levels and the resources now available to us do not allow for follow-up teams to tidy up edges etc.
“The council is considering options such as additional weed spraying around edges and obstructions to allow the machinery it uses to get as close as possible to edges.”
Tony has also been out knocking on doors drumming up support, and says he has more than 900 signatures.
He added: “All I am is a resident who doesn’t want to move. I like it here. The commute is still sensible for London, and we’ve got one of the best schools in the area.
“The majority of the people I speak just want don’t want any money back, they just want value for what they pay for.”
A council spokesman said: “The council has had to reduce significantly the amount of resources it allocates to this type of service because of the reductions in grant it receives from government.
Recognising that the cuts in environment services have had a more apparent impact than other areas, the council has funded an additional 10 employees who will work across the whole borough including the Chafford Hundred estate.
Scores of residents have left angry comments on Change.org. Among them is Vicky East.
She wrote: “We live in Chafford Hundred and want it to be a nice place to live not an eye sore!
“We spend a lot of money and time keeping our house nice - why don’t the council look after their bit - what do we pay our money for?”
To sign the petition, visit http://chn.ge/1HQQAu6