Update – No Change on the Streets.

And more frustration from residents and businesses.

We have seen an increase in the presence of street cleaning persons and apparatus alike, but unfortunately, not a decrease in the presence of filth on our streets.

We have sent further emails to the Council, asking them to explain points raised by you, and to request more forcefully an investigation into their cleaning shambles.

All emails from us have been totally ignored.

Please place your concerns under this pavement slab.

We have meanwhile been monitoring the state of affairs on the streets, and talking with businesses and residents.

A Tale of Two Pavements.

What does this image say to you?

Kings Cross Square.

It looks as though those bollards are the border to some new paving slabs – but looking more closely tells a different story.

In fact – and no, this is not the light – these are one and the same pavement. Why is there this odd change in colour?

On the left side of this border, Camden administer the street cleansing. On the right side, it is the job of TfL.

Notice the difference?

So why this difference? Surely TfL have some more stringent requirements, or something like that? Nope. TfL and Camden Council are exactly the same in the eyes of the law. The requirements are those set out in the EPA and the Code of Practice, which Camden claim are just impossible to adhere to.

06:04 – Before the crowds gather.

But evidently TfL manage just fine. Look at the state of King’s Cross Square at 06:00 – spotless, and still cleaning, just as the EPA requires – just as the law demands.

Then take a look at Euston Road, on the same morning.

06:31 – Filth.

There can be no reason for this. It is shameful, and needs to stop now.

Press this button for clean streets.

Ian Dudding – A Few Questions.

Our Borough Monitoring Manager ignored my previous two emails about the state of the streets. We had also sent him a copy of The Chase and asked him to comment on the performance of the street cleaner. Also, that was ignored.

So we decided to ask him a few more questions, based on what you have said to us.

Dear Mr Dudding,

I note with some disappointment that you have chosen not to respond to my previous email asking for clarification on the actions of two of Camden’s street cleaners, or the email previous to that, raising concerns that the streets are not cleaned well enough, or often enough.

I have a number of questions raised by concerned residents and also myself, and we would appreciate it if you could answer those questions.

We wonder why, if we have Monitoring Officers, and indeed Monitoring Managers, that the most simple functions of monitoring the streets and those who work on the streets seem to not be adequately executed. For example, there is currently portable roadwork signage and sandbags on Bidborough Street which has been lying on the streets since last year, in various locations – indeed, one sign is dated at no later than 12/01/2019, and it still has not been removed – photo attached. If we do indeed have monitoring officers, then how has this not been noticed and removed?

Still present – 27/08/2019

1) Whose responsibility is it to firstly note the continued inappropriate presence of these signs, and then have them removed in a timely fashion?

As another example, I simply refer again to the photos which I sent to you of the cleaner’s work. 

2) In your opinion, was that street cleaner doing an adequate job?

and,

3) Whose responsibility is it to ensure that those street cleaners were adequately carrying out their responsibilities?

Further to this, we have seen that Camden intend to instigate a ‘Multi-Stakeholder Group’ to bring improvements to the area. It seems that in your opinion, the root cause of the litter on the streets is the extremely poor behaviour of those who use the streets. You often have said, or at least implied, that to keep the streets to the required standard of cleanliness (as set out in the Code), we would require an untold number of cleaners on our streets, which is not practicable. Hence the state of the streets. But it has become clear to us, or was clear all along to some, that in fact there are two parts to the story – the cleaners not cleaning the streets properly, and also significant antisocial behaviour. We can all agree that antisocial behaviour has a role to play in this. But what of the Council’s role? After the evidence that I have sent to you, and further evidence which I have collected and am sharing with you, do you not see that the Council’s cleaners are doing an inadequate job? And also comparing the Council’s land as opposed to TfL’s ‘Kings Cross Square’, or ‘The Brunswick Centre’, whose geographical location implies the exact same issues with ASB, or indeed, more severe issues, but whose cleanliness is far superior to Camden’s land, is there not room for error on the Council’s part?

4) Do the Council yet admit that their cleansing services require significant improvements, not investment?

And finally, we note that at no point have you acknowledged Camden’s duty under s89 (1) of the EPA, only the requirements set out in the Code, and those are evidently not paid full regard to. The only focus on Camden’s part is on the word ‘practicable’. So we ask, do the Council acknowledge that the streets which fall under the Borough of Camden, and in particular those in the wards of Kings Cross and Bloomsbury, are land which the Council has a duty to keep clear of litter and refuse, so far as is practicable?

5) Do Camden Council acknowledge that they have a duty to ensure that the streets of the aforementioned wards are kept clear of litter and refuse, so far as is practicable?

Yours,

Owen Ward

and Other Concerned Residents of the Wards of Kings Cross and Bloomsbury.

Further Evidence: https://1drv.ms/u/s!AvShVI34X9OWhmICUrGOxk2TwJGj?e=MuP1dO

Collected 26/08/2019, following a mechanical sweeper, from 07:19 onwards – Judd Street and Euston Road.

Original Evidence: https://1drv.ms/u/s!AvShVI34X9OWhmA72mReqwc8azLJ?e=6SXwe9

Unfortunately he has chosen again, to not respond. He has also chosen to ignore a number of other concerned residents, which we will take up with the Complaints Department.

The Boot.

We talked extensively with Sharon, whose family has run The Boot on Cromer Street for the past twenty-two years. A tavern has stood on that site since at least 1690, formerly known as ‘The Golden Boot Tavern’ until 1801 when it was rebuilt and renamed ‘The Boot’, at the same time that Cromer Street was created and Georgian Bloomsbury was born as we know it today.

To make that clear, The Boot stood on this site whilst the rest of Bloomsbury and Kings Cross were still fields – noted only for having a bakery and bowling green. When St Pancras Station was built, The Boot was already at least 180 years old.

That makes this establishment at least 330 years old, possibly the oldest surviving establishment of all of Camden – one would think that the Council would pay some respect to this place.

However Sharon told me that the passage which leads down the side of The Boot isn’t even ever cleaned by the Council – despite it being the Council’s land. Apparently when the street cleaner visits, he tells her ‘it’s not on my list’ and refuses to sweep the area.

That passage – Speedy Place – has been the site of multiple break-ins and numerous drug and vagrancy offences. Only a handful of doorways lead onto the road, which is anyhow a dead-end, making it the perfect place for shady activities. Sharon told me of how they, along with all those who use the passage, have been campaigning to have the passage gated. Even the Police had written a letter supporting this proposal.

But the Council refuse to gate the passageway – because it is the Council’s land.

And yet at the same time, the Council refuse to clean the passageway… despite them having a statutory duty to do so, because as they say, it is their land.

These all seem to be different stories, but they are really the same story dressed up differently. What is the function of Camden Council? All of us pay for these services which are never rendered, only to be belittled and sold lies when we ask for anything material. Thousands of men and women sit at their desks, their jobs to reply to emails but nothing more – and even that is sometimes not done.

Regarding Speedy Place, Camden are committing a crime by refusing to clear that land of litter and refuse. They are also complicit in serious crimes by refusing to act to prevent them, even upon recommendation by the Police.

Who does Camden serve?

15:48 – 27/08/2019

Published by owardkx

I am a resident of Queen Alexandra Mansions, in Bloomsbury. I am also a committee member of Bloomsbury Residents' Action Group and of the Bloomsbury Conservation Area Advisory Committee, each working to protect residents and heritage in Bloomsbury.

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