Residents’ anger at dirty streets in Marylebone

Rubbish-covered streets are becoming a regular sight in Westminster as major cuts to street cleaning budgets start to bite, say residents.

People in Marylebone have started a petition to increase the level of cleaning which they say has declined markedly over recent months.

In June the council announced plans to make almost �4million in cuts to its street cleaning services including a borough-wide reduction from 144 weekend street sweepers to 70 with an 80 per cent cut in some parts of the north.

Petition organiser Andy Caplehorn says many people are concerned about the “very noticeable decline in the cleanliness of streets”.

She said: “From the people I have spoken to, there hasn’t been one who wouldn’t be happy to pay a bit more in council tax to have the streets a bit cleaner.

“There’s no way street cleaning is one of the services that people want to see cut.

“Given the central location of this area, the density of the population and the very large numbers of daily visitors to the area for the purposes of business and tourism, it seems entirely inappropriate to us that the street cleaning resources dedicated to the area have been reduced.”

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Marylebone Association city management chairman, Michael Bolt, says sweeping on major streets has been reduced “to a bare minimum” while minor roads “have to tolerate the sight of rubbish blowing around them all weekend”.

He said: “While of course we are aware that cuts need to be made, we feel that they need to be better prioritised.

“It’s all very well spending large sums of money de-cluttering Westminster’s streets of surplus signage and furniture etc. ready for the Olympics but there is little point if the same streets are going to be covered in rubbish.”

Last December the council was forced to backtrack on proposals to make residents responsible for cleaning the area outside the front of their homes after finding out they were illegal.

Cabinet member for city management, Cllr Ed Argar, says he has arranged a walkabout with Ms Caplehorn.

“These are financially tough times with the council having to find about �60million of savings this year and as a result have had to take some tough decisions.

“In finding these savings we have minimised any impacts on the front line and we continue to respond to any specific issues raised by residents and businesses.”