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Council bans villagers in Wickhambreaux from picking up litter due to health and safety

By Dan Wright

Council health and safety chiefs have riled villagers by banning a community litter-pick - because some roads don’t have pavements.

Grandad-of-six Charlie Porter, 72, was one of many residents who wanted to clear rubbish from the streets in Wickhambreaux near Canterbury.

But the local authority put the buffers on the event, refusing to provide equipment and saying it “could not authorise” the pick to take place.

Villagers wanted to tidy up Wickhambreaux
Villagers wanted to tidy up Wickhambreaux

Retired Mr Porter - who had asked the council for hi-vis jackets and sacks - branded the decision “ridiculous”.

“They have their rules, but sense should have prevailed,” he said.

“It is not like we would be picking rubbish on a super highway - these are three streets in Wickhambreaux we are talking about.

“You try to be community-minded but you do not get the support you need.

Charlie Porter was refused permission to pick up litter
Charlie Porter was refused permission to pick up litter

“It’s ridiculous and out of proportion with what we’re trying to do.”

Mr Porter wanted to clear waste in The Street, Spicer Place and Mill Close, all 30mph roads.

But the city council says it would be dangerous for members of the public to litter pick on these streets as they do not have pavements.

“This is unnecessary red tape,” Mr Porter, of Mill Close, added.

“We have quite a few visitors in the village and there is a litter problem.

Wickhambreaux, near Canterbury
Wickhambreaux, near Canterbury

“We do have some diligent people who unofficially pick it up, but I wanted to do a proper litter-pick.

“I never said we were going to do the main road because nobody likes walking up there, but we wanted to do it in little, quiet roads.”

Mr Porter’s application to the council was met with a firm response from the authority’s Sandra Moore.

“Unfortunately I am unable to authorise for your event to take place,” she wrote.

The Rose Inn, Wickhambreaux
The Rose Inn, Wickhambreaux

“Your map shows that although you do not intend to litter pick in Seaton Road, which is 60mph, The Street, Spicer Place and Mill Close do not have pavements and as such are dangerous for members of the public to litter-pick on.

“We only would agree for litter-picks to take place on roads of 30mph or lower and roads that have pavements where residents do not have to dodge in and out of parked cars.”

Council spokesman Rob Davies added: “Although we welcome interest from the community in carrying out litter-picks, and are very grateful to those people who organise them and take part, the priority has to be keeping people safe.”

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