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Large mound of rubbish needs clearing in East Street, Sittingbourne, near Swale council offices

By Poppy Jeffery

A landlord hopes her efforts to clear land which she says has been attracting homeless people and rats will soon lead to action.

Doreen Williams owns a flat in East Street, Sittingbourne.

A large mound of rubbish has been dumped behind her property and she says her tenant has gone to Swale council three times to ask if it can be cleared.

The rubbish in East Street, Sittingbourne
The rubbish in East Street, Sittingbourne

The 78-year-old said: “The homeless are sleeping there and dropping remains of takeaway meals, cans and bottles of drink and smoking drugs. This is now attracting rats. Branches and wood have been stacked up too – this is a fire hazard.”

She said she asked Swale council to help but was reportedly told she must speak to Ashford council as that is where she lives, so her tenant put in a complaint.

The council’s headquarters in East Street overlooks the area. Mrs Williams said: “All they kept telling us was that they couldn’t do anything and we keep asking but nothing happens – the tenant is getting a bit worried now.

The area is overlooked by Swale council's building
The area is overlooked by Swale council's building

“It’s right in front of the council. I can’t understand how they don’t know about it because there’s 15 or 20 windows overlooking it.”

The land is understood to belong to the Mormon church.

Cllr Roger Truelove, Labour group leader on the council, says he has been continually pressing the authority to do something about it.

Cllr Roger Truelove
Cllr Roger Truelove

He said: “Part of any development there should be some extra parking to relieve the stress that is caused in that part of town, especially by council staff parking in adjacent streets.

“If the council can borrow £28 million for some highly speculative property investment, it can also do something about this wasted land. That is genuine regeneration.”

Commenting on the rubbish, a Swale council spokesman said: “We can find no records of any complaints being made to the council regarding this land.

Swale House
Swale House

“We will now be taking this issue up with the landowners and asking them to clear the land. We will also be making inquiries to identify any persons sleeping on the land who may be homeless.

“It’s important to note that anyone may notify the council of a concern they have, regardless of where they live.

“We take all reports seriously, and all are logged in our system to ensure they receive appropriate follow-up.”

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