Street Scene Update
The Committee was given an update on the improvements being made within the Street Cleansing Service to improve the cleanliness of the Borough in recent months.
The Assistant Director (Operations) introduced the report and advised that the deep cleansing machine had completed its first phase of deep cleaning and had moved onto Community Square and had also been able to access previously inaccessible business frontages during the latest lockdown. It was intended that this machine and the new cleansing staff would also be used elsewhere in the Borough for example Perry Street, the shopping parades in Istead Rise, Meopham etc. There had been a good uplift in the cleanliness of the town centre which had also seen the refurbishment of litter bins, replacement of damaged ashtrays and batteries in the solar bins had also been checked.
The Committee was advised that Kent County Council was duty bound to carry out weed spraying on roads and pavements but this service was not as good as it should be. Earlier in the year, the Borough Council had obtained a weed removal machine which had shown good results and Members’ attention was drawn to the before and after photos contained in the report. A schedule was in place to work round the worst affected area and this schedule would be under continuous review.
The Waste Projects & Compliance Officer noted that the Street Cleansing Team always strove to deliver improvements in service and excellent work had been achieved. Members’ attention was drawn to the compliments received by the Council in relation to work undertaken by the Team. Further to the report on the Recycling ‘On-the-Go’ Trial to the last meeting of the Committee, new bins litter and dual compartment recycling bins had been installed in St Andrew’s Gardens and had been in place for 2 weeks. A record was being kept of the contaminants in the waste disposed of in the recycling bins which would be monitored for a total of 8 weeks. This data would then be analysed and the findings would inform communications and signage.
Members noted that at the last meeting of the Committee an update had been given on the Adopt a Street initiative and on Street Champions. Officers were now working on how to give Ward Councillors more of a role in co-ordinating volunteers and in the meantime Councillors were asked to contact the Waste Projects & Compliance Officer to be provided details of volunteers within their Wards.
The Waste Projects & Compliance Officer gave an update on figures contained in the report as follows:
- The scheme now had 194 Street Champions up from 186 as set out in the report which showed a total increase of 97.7% and 168 streets had been adopted.
- 237 volunteers had attended a Community Clean event.
- 389 sacks of litter had been collected since the start of the financial year.
The Assistant Director (Operations) concluded that his teams were working closely with the new Environmental Enforcement Team which was under the Communities Directorate and described the process reports of fly tipping went through to allow the collection of any evidence before removal of the rubbish. The officer also gave an update on the progress of future initiatives.
The following points were raised during discussion on this report:
· A question was raised on the purchase of a second deep cleansing machine and another weed ripper to provide continuation of service in case of breakdown. The Assistant Director (Operations) advised that the deep cleansing machines were quite expensive and repairs would be completed by the Vehicle Workshop in the event of a breakdown in a timely manner. The use of the weed ripper machine is being reviewed and if required another machine will be purchase however the Housing Estate Care Team has already procured a weed ripper machine.
· It was noted that it was intended that both these machines would be used in locales outside the town centre and in more rural locations as soon as the team had the capacity.
· A suggestion was made that the weed ripper be used in alleyways around schools to make them safer to traverse and to encourage parents to walks their children to school. The officer undertook to take this on board and asked Members to advise him by email of the alleyways in question.
· In respect of paragraph 6.3.6 of the report, a question was raised on how Members were communicated with in relation to information on Street Champions and litter pick up events.
· It was noted that a street cleanliness Scrutiny Review had been planned which had been delayed by the pandemic which now might possibly not be required as so much progress had been made in recent months.
· The Chair requested that all Councillors encourage the work on the Street Champions.
· Following a question on whether the Council could deal with graffiti on the walls of privately owned properties, Members were advised that graffiti on ground level walls could be dealt with following an indemnity being signed by the owner of the property.
The following positive comments were made by the Committee:
· The report was encouraging and uplifting.
· Brilliant report.
· Wow! Congratulations to the Assistant Director (Operations) and his team and the residents of Gravesham. The Borough was not yet perfect but the commitment of the operatives and residents would continue to increase the success of these initiatives. A Councillor had walked through Gordon Gardens, Fort Gardens and the Promenade and had found one piece of litter.
The Assistant Director (Operations) undertook to pass on the Committee’s congratulations and compliments to the appropriate teams. He also expressed the hope that the town centre and other areas being so clean and tidy might cause people to feel alienated if they do not comply.
Resolved that the report be noted.