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Canterbury City Council’s refuse contract is with Serco (stock image, Regency Place, Canterbury)

Send students on waste disposal courses, urges cleaner city campaigner

An anti-litter campaigner says Canterbury’s students should have to attend classes on managing their rubbish as part of their degrees.

Prof Rick Norman reacted to the latest scenes at Regency Place off Military Road, a street routinely littered with loose garbage and the putrid contents of wheelie bins spilling out.

The road, which is only 200 yards from Canterbury City Council’s office, is occupied almost entirely by students living in houses in multiple occupancy.

Many of its front gardens are also covered in detritus, mostly food and drink packaging.

Prof Norman, a retired philosophy lecturer and writer, has argued before that education is critical in the war on mess.

Detritus in a Regency Place front garden

He told the Canterbury Journal this week: “It really is time for an initiative on refuse disposal for student houses.

“Learning what to do with rubbish bins should be on every student curriculum. How else will they know what to properly do?”

Andy Thomas, who lives on the nearby Brymore estate, added: “It’s like this all the time up here.

“It looks like something out of the Third World.”

And anti-litter campaigner Sian Pettman is calling for more to be done to keep residential streets clean.

“When I saw the Journal’s pictures of Regency Place, I just thought ‘not this again’,” Mrs Pettman said.

A broken chair on grass in Regency Place

“The problem is that the council’s waste contractor Serco tends to focus almost exclusively on the city centre, the part seen by visitors.

“This means that residential areas are left to go to pot. When the waste contract is renewed in 2021, a much greater emphasis should be placed on cleaning residential areas.

“It’s places such as this that volunteer litter pickers go to. But it’s so demoralising for us.

“We feel like the burden is on us. This is what happens when when people don’t have long term interest in their streets.”

Canterbury City Council has committed itself to trying to keep the city clean. Next week its community committee will discuss raising litter fines to £150.

But the authority does not have powers to clean private property – except in the most extreme cases of health hazards.

It says it has now visited Regency Place and taken immediate action to deal with the mess.

Spokesman Rob Davies said: “We were unaware of the situation in Regency Place and thank the Canterbury Journal for bringing it to our attention.

“Enforcement officers visited the area yesterday, tidied up and returned bins to properties. Serco will be attending to carry out a litter pick in the near future.
“While there, our officers issued a number of waste advice notices and one fixed penalty notice for littering.
“This action means we are now starting from a clean slate in Regency Place. We’ll be monitoring the situation closely for the foreseeable future, so if there are further problems, we’ll be tackling them swiftly.”
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