‘It winds me up’: Cleanliness of Romford’s South Street slammed

People in Rush Green

People in Rush Green shared their views of how clean they think Romford's streets are - Credit: Chantelle Billson

Romford's town centre is a "mess and urgently needs attention".

That's according to Cllr David Taylor, a Conservative councillor for Romford’s St Edwards ward, who has joined calls made to Havering Council to smarten and clean up the borough's streets.

Resident Pamela Scott, 65, said several of the streets in the centre of Romford could do with a freshen up, in particular South Street running up to the market. 

“Once a week you used to see the man steering one of the things, doing the pavements,” Pamela said. 

She alleged the area has been in particularly poor condition for the last six to eight months, in her opinion.

“It winds me up,” Pamela added. “All we have got to do is pour a bucket of water over it.” 

Overflowing rubbish bin

An overflowing rubbish bin near to Romford Market - Credit: Chantelle Billson

Cllr Taylor said he also thinks South Street is in a dirty state, and concurs that there is a need to properly clean it up. 

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"Our town centre is a mess and urgently needs attention,” he told the Recorder. “We have a lack of bins and the pavements are never washed, resulting in bird mess and chewing gum all over the place.  

“Given that Romford's night-time economy is one of London's largest, I'd expect South Street to get a lot more attention."

Cllr David Taylor

Cllr David Taylor - Credit: David Taylor

He said he has asked the council if money saved through a reduction of Special Responsibility Allowances (SRAs) in the administration shake-up following the recent election has gone towards street cleaning, on which he is awaiting a response. 

Leader of the council, Cllr Ray Morgon, said street cleaning staff are in Romford town centre seven days a week, washing pavements. 

He said this will be followed by a more intensive deep clean over the next couple of months, adding: “We also need the help of residents and visitors to not drop litter, chewing gum or cigarette butts on the ground, but to be responsible and put them in a bin or take their rubbish with them.” 

Pamela said she is keen to know if there are any other volunteers who would be willing to join up and clear up the streets, as in her mind, it has got to the point where something has to be done. 

Pavement

Pavement in South Street, Romford - Credit: Chantelle Billson

How much money is dedicated to cleaning Havering’s streets?  

According to Havering Council’s statement of accounts published on its website for 2018/19 and 2019/20 - and a draft version for 2020/21 - around £9million in funding has been allocated to the services of rubbish, waste collection and street cleaning for each of those three years.  

A draft statement of its 2021/22 statement of accounts, also published on its website, says Havering allocated £9.8m to the service last year.

In the 2019/20 document, chief executive Andrew Blake-Herbert wrote: “Our extra investment of £400,000 for street cleaning has seen the frequency in residential streets increased from once every three weeks to fortnightly.  

“Complaints of dirty streets in February were down 22 per cent from the previous six months.” 

Your views:  

Jonathan Bolaky

Jonathan Bolaky, 49 - Credit: Chantelle Billson

Jonathan Bolaky stressed if streets are dirty, it is not the cleaning team's fault, "especially with what they do and what they have to come across".

The 49-year-old, who said he used to work as a Town Hall cleaner and at Barking and Dagenham Council, said the dirt present on floors in Romford could be tackled by getting more street sweeper machines in operation.  

He said: “They need to get them out more because it’s not fair for the cleaners who are walking around with a barrow, they do too much as it is.

“More street sweeper machines are needed as the cleaners pushing barrows are street cleansers and they do an awfully good job. 

"I think they make the public happy with what they do, but I do think it could be a lot better without the people who don’t care about what happens to the community, chucking their lids all over the floor,” said Jonathan.  

Jonathan thinks people who litter should be fined as a deterrent.

Ryan Holmes

Ryan Holmes, 41 - Credit: Chantelle Billson

Ryan Holmes, from Rush Green, said he has lived in the area for six months and only tends to notice the streets are dirty “on a windy day”.  

The 41-year-old said: “On windy days, all sorts tend to gather, but as far as boroughs go, I have seen a lot worse.  

“I run my own business and so I am all over the shop and I’ve seen far worse boroughs, the closer you get into London the dirtier it gets and it seems unbelievable but that is the case.  

“You would expect those areas to be cleaner, but they aren’t and so I don’t think Romford is that bad.”  

Ryan said marks on the floor and left chewing gum won’t ever be “completely eradicated”.

He said: “The streets of Romford are stained, but that’s not just Romford, that’s everywhere and nationwide.”  

People should be fined for littering/throwing chewing gum on the floor, Ryan added: “Why should you discard something which comes out of your mouth, and could transmit anything? Why shouldn’t that go in the bin? Hygiene should be imperative.”  

Rebecca

Rebecca, 65 - Credit: Chantelle Billson

Rebecca, who wishes not to use her last name, said there is a lot of excrement from pigeons on Romford town pavements.  

The Rush Green resident said: “I don’t know where they come from! I used to feed them but now I’ve stopped. It is so filthy and dirty outside on the pavements – they're terrible.”  

She said she spoke to an employee at Yates in Romford who cleans outside its premises, a practice she thinks more shops should take up.  

The 65-year-old added: “I think more money needs to be allocated to street cleaning and we need to look into cleaning more often.”  

Jean Warren, who lives in Hornchurch, added that South Street is “just an absolute mess from the station down to the market place”.