Manufacturers are called on to fund clean-up of Hitchin town centre ‘hotspots’

Michael Norgan and Keith Hoskins

Michael Norgan and Keith Hoskins - Credit: Archant

Fed up with used chewing gum littering streets and blighting Hitchin town centre? Relief is at hand, with a blitz on the eyesore gobbets of gum that disfigure so many pavements.

Town centre manager Keith Hoskins said: “A blitz is planned on the chewing gum ‘hotspot’ areas overnight at the beginning of April including Market Place, Brand Street, and Sun Street.

“Chewing gum is extremely difficult and expensive to remove once it has been ‘walked in’ and dried on pavement surfaces.

“It was in Hitchin BID’s business plan to address issues such as this – which is why we’re extremely grateful Osinsky’s Bar and Grill have come on board to support this project. Removing grotty gum will cost us around £2,000.”

Osinsky’s owner Michael Norgan added: “We’re part of Hitchin BID and are proud to support the clean up.”

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Labour councillor for Hitchin Bearton Judi Billing said: “All forms of littering are wrong but I can’t think of a more horrible habit than spitting your chewing gum on the pavement – it’s absolutely disgusting. Chewing gum is a plague on our streets. It’s a blight – and costs a fortune to clean up.”

UKIP prospective parliamentary candidate for Hitchin John Stocker fumed: “I want to see community service for those on ASBOs who drop chewing gum.”

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The Local Government Association representing nearly 400 councils in England and Wales has called for chewing gum producers to pick up their share of the cost of removal.

LGA spokesman Peter Box said: “The UK gum industry is worth multi-millions – we believe in the principle of the polluter paying.

“The chewing gum giants should make a contribution to help with the sterling work many are doing to help remove it.

“We want everyone – from manufacturers to those who buy and chew the gum – to take greater responsibility for helping solve this problem.”

A Wrigley spokesman said: “We take the issue of littered gum very seriously. The only long-term solution is persuading people to dispose of their chewing gum responsibly.

“Our Chewing Gum Action Group campaigns to get people to bin their gum responsibly – we’d welcome a bid from North Herts to take part in this year’s campaign.”

Inspector Duncan Sales from Herts police added: “Littering is a civil offence and could be punishable with a Fixed Penalty Notice of £60.

“We urge people to be responsible when they dispose of chewing gum. Use the litter bins provided and help keep Hitchin a clean and tidy town.”

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