Councillors clear up filthy alleyway

The appalling state in which they found it

The appalling state in which they found it

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TWO councillors have taken it upon themselves to clear a filthy, rat-infested alleyway after residents’ repeated complaints to the council fell on deaf ears.

There were reports of fly-tipping, vermin and anti-social behaviour in the cut through behind the shops off Sedlescombe Road North in Silverhill, St Leonards.

Councillors Matthew J. Lock and Andrew Gurney in the cleaned-up Silverhill alley

Councillors Matthew J. Lock and Andrew Gurney in the cleaned-up Silverhill alley

But despite mounds of rotting rubbish, Hastings Borough Council (HBC) officers reportedly said the alleyway was unadopted and it was not their responsibility to tidy it up. Fed up of the mess, a Silverhill resident raised it with Cllr Matthew J Lock at his drop-in advice surgery. With the warmer weather causing even more problems Cllr Lock ran into similar brick walls, and so he decided to take matters into his own hands.

He teamed up with Cllr Andrew Gurney to spend two hours clearing the site, collecting 37 bags of rubbish and disinfecting the area.

Cllr Lock said: “Cllr Gurney and I decided that if we wanted something done, we’d have to do it ourselves. We are appalled that HBC has been so reticent to take action and I will be asking the lead member for the environment (Cllr Phil Scott) at the next full council meeting, why no action was taken over a period of four months.”

The resident who first complained, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “I’m just relieved it has finally been done.”

HBC spokesman Lucy Downham said there were ongoing issues about which business is responsible for the alleyway and the officers were working to establish who should keep it clean. The council’s street wardens would be going back to speak to the shops to “stress the importance” of maintaining it to a proper standard, she added.