Estover footpath gets a clean up after 30 years of asking by Plymouth residents, they claim
FED-UP residents claim a rubbish-strewn footpath was neglected by street cleaners for more than 30 years.
But now, after years of complaints to the council, litter pickers have arrived – after the angry residents alerted The Herald.
Sid McAuley, 63, got in contact with The Herald after reading about Southway's 87-year-old litter picker Michael Gibson last week.
He and fellow lane users Roy Armstrong, Fran Streets and Keith Webber claimed the short lane near their homes in Estover was awash with litter and dog mess.
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After The Herald asked the council about the state of the path and surrounding bushes this week, a crew turned up to clean it up.
Mr McAuley, a Dublin-born driving instructor, said: "I have been living in Yardley Gardens since 1983 and I have never seen a road sweeper go down there until this morning.
"There was litter and cans all over the place and lazy dog owners would even chuck their dog mess into the hedges. It was an absolute mess."
Plymouth City Council said its cleaning teams monitored all streets in the area on a regular basis – and had responded to locals' complaints.
"I went down there with a few of my friends on Wednesday morning," said Mr McAuley.
"We couldn't believe it because it was nice and tidy for the first time."
Mr McAuley claimed he had contacted the council about a dog fouling problem along the lane, between Yardley Gardens and Thornbury Road, some three years ago – and was told it would be too expensive to tackle.
"I asked them to put a bin for dog waste on the path but they said it would cost £500 and then on top of that they would have to pay for it to be emptied," he said.
"That much money? I thought they were having a laugh."
The dog owners in the area have got together in the past and cleaned up the lane but Mr McAuley said the problems simply returned.
He is relieved the local authority has taken action.
"It looks a lot better than before but the council has to do something now to keep it that way," he added.
"If the council actually cleaned the place regularly then people might respect it a lot more.
"Right now people are using it and doing what they damn well like – if they saw it as a respectable area then they would more likely keep it that way.
"The council cleaners could come round more often and also put some bins in.
"One bin either side of the lane would be no trouble at all for them to install.
"The cleaners we spoke to today said they would come round once a month but we'll have to see."
A spokesman for Plymouth City Council confirmed a cleaning team was sent to tidy up the lane.
He said: "We did receive a complaint this week and arranged for the footpath to be cleared. Our street cleaning crews visit Estover every two weeks and will monitor the footpath on their rounds.
"We will look into whether there is a need for more bins but unfortunately this does not necessarily stop irresponsible people from dropping rubbish or leaving dog mess."
Fixed penalty notices can be issued if those responsible are caught littering but the council admitted last week that it can be difficult to catch them in the act.
The council imposed 55 fines in the 2011 and 2012 financial year.