We have been walking around WC1 removing the profusion of planning documents and road closure notifications attached to posts.
These contribute negatively to the appearance of an area and are classed as ‘flyposting’ by Keep Britain Tidy. As is well known they are often left for years and become degraded.
Camden are legally obliged to put up these documents in an area when there is a planning application or road closure. They are unfortunately not legally obliged to remove them.
We have found documents from as far back as 2013. We considered applying to Historic England to have them listed but after consideration decided instead the public benefit of removal outweighed the less than significant harm caused by their removal.
We have been concentrating on the three areas of Judd Street, Calthorpe Street, and UCL. So far we have removed four bin bags’ worth of these documents, estimated to be around 200 individual documents along with roughly 400 cable ties.
We encourage you to take this up in your area as an easy and satisfying way to make a real difference to its appearance. We recommend using a folding Stanley knife which is legal to carry around, and is very effective at cutting through cable ties when sharp. You must be careful not to cut yourself which is far easier than you might expect, and also be careful not to alarm any tourists by overtly brandishing your weapon of mass cleansing.
Be careful not to remove any live documents.
We have also been walking around the area with the local SAMOs from Camden to report abandoned bicycles and bike locks and have them removed. We have thus far had roughly fifteen or so bicycles removed.
We are doing this as preparation for a community repainting project of street furniture in the area. Veolia when tasked to remove fly-posts do not remove cable ties and documents as they have found that pressure-washing cable ties is largely an ineffective way to remove them. Thus we have decided to do it ourselves rather than demand that Veolia do this, as it is unreasonable to expect Veolia to do something sensible especially when their resources are so limited.
It is of course the local authority’s obligation to remove these documents, but we considered the length of time it would take sending emails and chasing responses and checking work done and decided it would be far easier if we did it ourselves. Please take it up in your local area as well. It is good for community spirit for residents to take some responsibility in caring for their area, even if they ‘shouldn’t have to’.
14:08 13th December 2019