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Rubbish Litters Street As Students Move Out Of Rented Accommodation

Published on: 26 Jun, 2021
Updated on: 26 Jun, 2021

By David Rose

Unsightly and unhygienic household waste has once again been accumulating outside properties in Guildford Park Avenue, where there is a high number of homes rented to students.

The chairman of the Guildford Park Avenue Residents’ Association, Judith Drew, for many years has liaised with the student tenants, helping them to understand what refuse to put out on which days for collection, and generally being a good neighbour to them.

The pictures show some of the rubbish from properties in Guildford Park Avenue, off Guildford Park Road, that have recently been vacated by students.

Knowing that there are often issues at the end of the academic year when students move out of their accommodation, Judith wasn’t surprised to see once again this year an accumulation of rubbish left out for collection. However, she knows it is not necessarily the departing students who have left it there.

In contacting The Guildford Dragon NEWS last Sunday (June 20), she wrote: “Here are four photographs showing some of the rubbish strewn over the pavement outside two of the now empty students houses in Guildford Park Avenue.

“The culprits are not always, as might be expected, the departed students but the cleaners employed by the letting agencies who, being based in Guildford, should be more than aware of Guildford Borough Council’s instructions concerning the separation and collection of household waste.

“Unbelievably, last week a council employee armed with a large plastic sack and a picking-up devise, carefully cleared up around the bins and sacks but appears not to have report this mess, but then neither did the Tuesday bin men.

“Guildford Park Avenue has always had a severe problem with rats who, out on the road, are enthusiastically joined by our local foxes, crows and magpies which help to spread the contents further.

“This happens at the end of every academic year and so is easily predictable and surely should, by now, be expected and planned for by Guildford Borough Council’s environment department who could then contact or fine the landlords or agencies for the extra work and time expended on the essential clearing up of these unhygienic health and safety problems.

“This, unfortunately, is not an isolated incident here and the residents are more than fed up with this recurring problem which appears to be ignored by Guildford Borough Council.”

Judith waited to see what would happen this week to see if any of the said rubbish would be collected when the bin men came round. It wasn’t.

She replied on Wednesday (June 23): “The bins have been emptied today and, as we expected, the torn sacks and spilt rubbish is still there. To be fair to the bin men, I don’t think they carry the necessary means to pick up any loose rubbish; their job seems to be collecting the bins and placing them in the correct place for the lorry to pick up and empty the bins.

“Maybe they will report the spillage when they return to Slyfield and maybe someone will be sent to clear things up. Who knows, watch this space.”

And on Thursday (July 24), Judith replied: “Black sacks are still there, now spread further by the foxes dragging one, which obviously contained food, into the middle of the road.

“A car must have run over the rubbish spreading the mess (and breaking a full bottle of sauce, which I removed because of the hazard of the broken glass). PS: foxes, crows, etc, appear not to like korma curry sauce as an accompaniment to their meals; for once I am looking forward to the forecast of rain to wash it away.”

Cllr James Steel

On Thursday afternoon, The Guildford Dragon NEWS asked Guildford Borough Council to comment. On Friday, the lead councillor for waste and the environment, James Steel, said: “Our waste collection team will be clearing the rubbish from these houses on Guildford Park Avenue tomorrow (Saturday). We will also send our street cleaning staff on Monday to clear any remaining litter from the road.

“Our crews collected waste from Guildford Park Avenue on Tuesday as scheduled and found that 16 properties had left extra waste outside of their bins. All councils across Surrey only collect waste which is put in the bins we provide. This extra rubbish should be disposed of by the residents of the properties, or the landlords if they have already moved out, but we recognise the impact it is having on residents and need to make sure the problem does not get worse.

“We also dealt with waste issues at two houses on Guildford Park Avenue in May, and the problem was resolved after our staff spoke to the landlords. We have not received any other reports since then.

“Our Landlord Accreditation Scheme currently has 356 Guildford landlords as members, all of whom attend a course covering aspects of property management. The scheme is not compulsory but we encourage all landlords to join.

“At the start of every academic year, the University [of Surrey] sends information to students on how to deal with their household waste and we can follow that up with extra help if we are told about a particular issue. If any resident has any waste issues, please contact [by email] or [phone] 01483 505050.”

However, action came sooner than Saturday and all’s well that the ends well (at the moment). On Friday morning, Judith reported to The Guildford Dragon NEWS: “Half past eight and Guildford Park Avenue is sparking clean.

At 7.20am a council employee with a lorry and a picking-up stick collected the plastic bottles, pieces of paper and cardboard (even those on the front gardens) and the black plastic sacks left next to the wheelie bins.

At 8.15am a council employee (the same one?) walked around with a leaf blower.

At 8.25am a road cleaning vehicle was driven around and in fact has just driven past again!”

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Responses to Rubbish Litters Street As Students Move Out Of Rented Accommodation

  1. Jan Messinger Reply

    June 26, 2021 at 5:59 pm

    My sympathies are with the residents of Guildford Park and any other area that is effected by this on a yearly basis. Of course, if these were family homes, not student accommodation, this hopefully would not be happening. Thank goodness our council employees have cleared this.

    But they shouldn’t have too. Students too lazy to remove their rubbish to appropriate place. I thought that the students of today were for saving the planet, not making things worse.

  2. Dennis Paul Reply

    June 27, 2021 at 12:04 am

    What a nonsense. Just provide a few more bins. That would be the most efficient way to deal with this problem.

    Bureaucratic council policy (ie number of bins per household) is getting in the way of flexibility and common sense.

  3. Sara Tokunaga Reply

    June 27, 2021 at 4:24 pm

    Unfortunately, this problem reaches a peak at this time but is a continuous issue throughout the academic year. GPARA [Guildford Park Avenue Residents’ Association) delivers a letter every year, giving all the information about waste to every single student house, and will also knock on doors to engage with the students as much as possible.

    Surely it is about time GBC started fining students/landlords/agents who willfully ignore the (very simple) waste disposal rules.

    Cllr Steel’s Landlord Accreditation Scheme, with so few members spread across the whole of Guildford, has no impact on these issues. GPA alone must harbour 100+ landlords. How many of those are members of the scheme?

  4. Martin Elliott Reply

    June 28, 2021 at 11:54 am

    Does nobody read the GBC website? Yes it can be a bit convoluted at times, and the search engine is useless, but the waste bin section is quite obvious.

    It just says apply for more or bigger bins. Nothing about limits.

    I’ve seen households with four green bins.

  5. Dave Middleton Reply

    June 28, 2021 at 3:11 pm

    It would be nice if some enforcement action could be taken by Guildford Borough Council or Surrey County Council with regard to households, be they families or student lets, owners or tenants, who seem to feel that the public footway outside their homes is a storage facility for their waste and recycling bins.

    Hayden Place in the town centre immediately springs to mind, where a number of households permanently store their bins on the narrow footway (not just on bin day), obliging pedestrians to walk in the road to get past.

    Repeated warning notices from Guildford Borough Council affixed to the bins have been ignored, with no further action taken by the authorities.

  6. Anthony Mallard Reply

    June 28, 2021 at 3:26 pm

    If this is a perennial problem, surely, it could feature in a Guildford Borough Council refuse collection annual plan.

    The head in the sand attitude of ‘let’s wait and see’ that appears to pertain is a nonsense.

    Come on Guildford Council, forward plan for what is obviously going to be an annual event and value the environment and the lives of those who pay council tax.

  7. Ana Claudia Surian da Silva Reply

    June 29, 2021 at 6:09 pm

    I lived in Guildford Park Avenue for six years with my two sons. This was an ongoing problem. It was not a pleasant place to live with small children because of the amount of rubbish on the pavement and the state of the front gardens of students’ houses.

    What the photographs do not show is the fact that the litter also attracts rats, which were (and still are) a constant problem to all householders.

    I think the landlords and the letting agents should be made more responsible for keeping the pavement and front gardens clean and clear from rubbish and debris. The photographs show what happens when they are not responsible and it is not a good example for new tenants.

  8. Nick Wright Reply

    July 3, 2021 at 10:28 am

    I am pleased that the refuse service was able to clean up Park Avenue but it only came about because of bad publicity about their department.

    Here in Burpham, I have been trying to get a collection of missed garden waste picked up all week. The GBC reporting website doesn’t work, I have telephoned five times to the 505050 number and after being kept waiting in a queue for 25 mins was told that it will be collected in two days. It hasn’t been. Eight days later, it is still here.

    It seems to me that it is the tail wagging the dog. Just like the main collection crew who just drive past the bins that they are under contract to collect (at £41:00 manually, paid by the householder) the missed bin crew appear to totally ignore the list on which I am supposed to have been placed and I am left with my garden waste.

    Is it any wonder that there are more incidents of fly-tipping.

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