There was a local issue in this week’s Camberley News and as I hadn’t written a blog for a while, I thought it was a good time to go through this one. The local reporter did try to contact me just before their deadline but due to work, I wasn’t able to add my update.
A local resident has rightly complained to the newspaper about a piece of land in Old Dean which is between Kingston Road and Surbiton Road which has been prone to flytipping for some time. In fact, some residents contacted me about this some months ago and I went out to go and see them and the problems first hand.
The land in question is not owned by the Borough Council as some believe but by Accent Housing Association. For many years, it has been a wasteland although many residents have access rights to their back garages and believe that the land was transferred over initially to Surrey Heath Housing Association and then to Accent where Surrey Heath Borough Council transferred their housing stock. The land has two other potentially useful purposes namely to house secure storage containers for kitchen and bathroom units and in the long-term, potentially houses.
So some months ago and after speaking to residents, I contacted the local Housing Officer for Accent to express my concerns and ask for action to be taken. This resulted in some immediate action namely that storage containers were secured and a skip was removed. After further follow-up from myself and a visiting Rushmoor colleague, Accent took action with their on-site contractors and the containers were all removed. This meant that the only remaining problem was the litter and flytipping.
Since then, we have entered a semi regular cycle of flytipping by unknown persons followed by clearance by Accent. The site cannot be completely secured due to the local access rights but does have a locked gate to stop other drivers.
It’s important to correct one aspect of this story namely that Accent are responsible for regular clearing regardless of whether they know the offending person or not. Of course, they would like to identify and prosecute the offenders as they are not Accent contractors as some believe. However, they are not legally obliged to remove unless an Environmental Health hazard.
Another resident belief is that the site can be easily redeveloped for housing but unfortunately this is not correct. We would love to have more social housing in Old Dean but our location is so close to the Special Protection Area that it virtually rules out any new housing development.
So the options now are:-
– Accent gather enough evidence to take legal action against the offenders. This could include evidence from local residents and possibly CCTV if a suitable site for the camera existed. My preferred option but not easy and takes time.
– Close the site and secure – This would mean residents waiving their access rights so unlikely to be an option.
– Alternative use for land – Potentially worth progressing as a community garden but should be recognised that this may not reduce the flytipping as other community gardens know.
So none of these are great but I will be contacting Accent again and ask them to consider all options as well as asking them to do a local resident letter to explain the situation in more detail. I have a lot of sympathy with these local residents and agree that they should not suffer due to the selfishness of a tiny minority.