Published: 00:01, 15 April 2016
An anti-litter campaigner has compared Deal to that of a Third World country after being incensed by the mounds of rubbish seen lying around Deal station and Tides Leisure Centre.
Environmentalist Vivien Clifford is calling on Network Rail and Dover District Council (DDC) to clear up the unsightly junk by the station and along the track past Victoria Park towards Hamilton Road.
In 2008, Ms Clifford presented a petition to DDC asking for more bins, anti-litter logos and more enforcement.
On a walk around some of Deal’s worst offending areas with our reporter, she said: “They [DDC] discussed it for several hours, devoted 15 pages of their agenda to it, had a petition with 1,300 signatures and yet did nothing.”
"This is supposed to be the garden of England-" Vivien Clifford
She recognises it is hard for DDC to act on all affected areas due to land ownership issues.
Some areas close to the station are owned by Network Rail. These include the slope from London Road towards the Ramsgate-bound platform, which is covered with non-biodegradable aluminium cans, plastic bottles and fast food wrappers.
The railway line adjacent to Mill Road has mounds of bottles close to a graffiti tag on a control building.
“It is the first thing visitors to Deal see,” said mayor elect Cllr Wayne Elliott, who agrees with Ms Clifford.
She added: “They’ve got dignitaries and tourists arriving to Deal at the station and volunteers from Deal With It have done a lot of work to beautify the place.
“They cleaned it up a bit, but this is the worst I’ve ever seen it. It reduces our quality of life.
“Deal is starting to look like a Third World country.”
The eyesore extends further than the train station.
The fence surrounding the tennis courts by the new Linwood youth centre at Victoria Park acts as a net for cans, bottles and sweet wrappers, while fly-tipping is an ongoing problem at Hamilton Road, where a ripped sofa and two sodden rugs have been dumped for some time.
Filled rubbish bags are strewn around the garages.
Ms Clifford added: “I’m just asking people who litter to not be selfish and lazy. Would they treat their homes like they do the environment?”
And she is adamant about what the causes of the littering are in the first place.
“It’s humans just chucking it anywhere. People believe it’s done by animals and wildlife, but it is humans,” she said.
A spokesman from Network Rail said: "We are pleased this has been brought to our attention and we have scheduled a clean up. People can always contact our helpline on 03457 11 41 41 and we will do what we can to keep our railway clean and tidy."