Litter bugs are forcing town downhill – claims mother

LITTER bugs have taken over a prominent feature in a town and residents believe that the council s attempts to clear up after them are rubbish. Houses in Hollow Lane, Hitchin, look out over Windmill Hill, on which crowds of people meet and pass through, e

LITTER bugs have taken over a prominent feature in a town and residents believe that the council's attempts to clear up after them are rubbish.

Houses in Hollow Lane, Hitchin, look out over Windmill Hill, on which crowds of people meet and pass through, especially during the warmer months and festivals.

But residents say they have rarely seen anybody clear up the mess on the hill and GMTV reporter Louise Houston is tired of looking out of her window at the filthy scene.

She said: "It doesn't bother me if people sit on the hill if they could just clear up before they leave.

"It's just disgusting really. Hitchin is well known for being a pleasant town with lots of greenery but it seems like the council doesn't really care about it.

"If the hill is just left to rot more people are inclined to leave their rubbish there.

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"The council will probably say they clean it regularly, but the hill has not been cleaned properly since the beginning of the Easter holidays."

The mother of two moved to Hitchin from London a year ago and says people who visit her have commented on the litter.

She said that it is at its worst after the Rhythms of the World and other events.

There are few bins on the hill, no signs to prevent littering and residents want more action from the council as festival season draws near again.

Ms Houston added: "They put the festival on every year and they don't have the infrastructure to deal with it.

"I reported an incident to North Herts District Council because I saw kids picking up the bottles and throwing them on Hollow Lane in front of oncoming cars.

"My kids walk up and down this road all the time. And it could be really dangerous.

"Within four hours there was someone up there cleaning the hill, but not very well though, they haven't cleaned a lot of it."

A spokesman for North Herts District Council said: "Windmill Hill is cleared of litter twice a day, seven days a week.

"We are disgusted with the amount of litter that is left, mostly by young people, who don't use the bins provided.

"We intend to approach local schools for assistance with this problem."

Andy Godman, head of housing and environmental health, said: "The vast majority of citizens see public open space as a key community asset and expect it to be kept free of litter for the enjoyment of all.

"Regrettably, the thoughtless actions of the few can spoil the appearance of parks and other open spaces. The council will serve a fixed penalty notice of £75 on those found to have dropped litter.

"The council may also prosecute those involved in repetitious or serious offending. In the light of reports from members of the public, enforcement officers will step up patrols around Windmill Hill and will investigate specific reports from residents.