Hitchin residents rage as town’s litter complaints pile up

Residents say they are fed up with the littering taking place in Swinburne Playing Fields. Picture:

Residents say they are fed up with the littering taking place in Swinburne Playing Fields. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

A number of Hitchin residents have reacted with dismay as they have felt forced to clean up after litterers in the town’s green spaces during lockdown.

Recent good weather, combined with people exploring their town’s green spaces during the coronavirus lockdown, has resulted in increased reports of littering across Hitchin.

READ MORE: Complaints mount after recent allegations of anti-social behaviour in HitchinWe asked North Hertfordshire District Council to break down how many complaints they have received in relation to littering during lockdown.

In total, NHDC has recorded 113 reports of littering, which is just under one report a day, between March 23 and August 1.

64-year-old Gary More’s property backs onto Swinburne Playing Fields and he says the situation has only got worse in the 10 years he has lived there.

He said: “Nowadays the bins overflow every night and they’re just not big enough.

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“Walking through there you often find dog waste alongside people’s general waste. It’s not just kids or young teenagers, adults are to blame too.

“People just have no regard whatsoever.”

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Gary, alongside other local residents, have dedicated their own time to cleaning up after others recently.

Now, they’re calling for more help from the local authority and the police to help tackle littering in the area.

Gary added: “To be honest, it drives me mad. We collect bags and bags of rubbish each evening.

“It’s my understanding that the council has an agreement to keep the space clean, and it is supposed to be litter picked daily.

“It often relies on residents going around doing it themselves. It’s terrible, we are having to go round each day with huge bags ready to pick up other people’s mess.

Just this weekend, another local resident, who does not wish to be named, discovered parts of the grassy areas burned after disposable BBQs had been lit.

She also says watched a group of young people drop their food and drink packets on the floor.

In response, Cllr Steve Jarvis, NHDC’s executive member for environment, said: “There has been a massive increase in the amount of litter that is being left by a small section of the community and a big increase in fly-tipping recently.

“Our contractors have been working hard to keep up with this, with extra collections and larger bins being installed, but in some places people have been dumping rubbish faster than we can pick it up.

“NHDC has recently launched it’s ‘Don’t be a tosser’ campaign and is displaying hard hitting posters at its parks and green spaces to discourage littering, encouraging residents instead to put their litter in the bin or take it home with them.

“We ask everyone not to leave rubbish behind in parks and play areas. If for some reason the bins are full, please take you rubbish home with you rather than throwing it on the ground.”

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