An alleyway in Ore has been used as a dumping ground for fly-tipping for years, say angry residents.
People in the area said the walkway, which runs between Winchelsea Road and Grove Road, has now become a fire hazard and impassable.
Victoria Bartholomew, of Winchelsea Road, said: “My husband and I have lived here since 1999 and the alleyway has always been like this.
“We’ve been told it’s private ground so doesn’t belong to the council. It’s absolutely disgusting.
“The alleyway has become a dumping ground and there are rats there. It’s gotten worse over the years and someone needs to take responsibility for it.
“It’s been cleaned up by community payback several times in the past.
“The alleyway is a fire hazard, germ-ridden and filthy.”
Her husband, Tarquin, said: “There will be loss of life soon if the alleyway is not cleaned up. If there was a fire there, you wouldn’t stand a chance. It’s supposed to act as a fire escape for residents.”
Ward councillor, Richard Street, said: “This alleyway has been a problem for many years, especially the top end where it meets Red Lake Terrace. It is classified as private land so the council has no responsibility for it and cannot deal with the problem of fly-tipping.
“All councillors for the area have tried to tackle it over the years. As I live in the road, I have not been directly involved.
“In the past Cllr Wincott has arranged for the Probation Service to clear rubbish.
“A few years ago, it was suggested that locked gates might be installed at the three entrances but this didn’t meet with the approval of many residents.
“When the presence of rats was reported a couple of years ago, the council’s environmental health officer visited and found no evidence.
“Some of the rubbish appears to come from residents, particularly when a tenant moves out and a new one moves in.
“I spoke to Environmental Health yesterday (Monday, March 6). Officers have visited the site on several occasions recently following complaints from Mr Bartholomew as have wardens and again found no trace of rats.
“Council officers are now reconsidering the installation of gates to make fly-tipping much harder.
“Cllr Wincott and I share the Bartholomews’ concerns and hope a genuine solution can be found.”
Cllr Warren Davies, the council’s lead member for environment, said: “The alley in question is privately owned by the residents that back on to it and as such Hastings Borough Council has no responsibility to keep it clear.
“The council has previously cleared this and other privately owned alleyways but no longer has the resources to maintain them.
“We have always tried to encourage residents to keep these routes clear, so that they can be accessed by the fire service and other utility services in case of emergency.
“Over the next few months the Community Safety Partnership is endeavouring to clear this and a number of other privately owned alleys to make them manageable for neighbouring residents to maintain in the future.
“But the partnership needs the residents to get involved to help arrange clearance. They are urged to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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