Lancaster residents take street cleaning measures into own hands

Coun Oscar Thynne (left) with residents taking part in the street cleaning session in Havelock Street.
Coun Oscar Thynne (left) with residents taking part in the street cleaning session in Havelock Street.

Residents and city councillors in Lancaster and Morecambe have taken it upon themselves to weed the streets and alleyways near their homes after they became overgrown.

Weeding was among items cut by the council earlier this year due to the budget being slashed by central government.

A resident joins in the street cleaning session in Havelock Street.

A resident joins in the street cleaning session in Havelock Street.

But with streets becoming over-run, and many people contacting the Guardian with pictures of their roads, some residents have decided to take matters into their own hands.

Most recently, a day was spent clearing four bags of weeds from the pavement and alleyway in and behind Havelock Street in Bowerham.

Sue Winterbottom said: “The back alley next to my yard is an utter disgrace. My grandsons have just got to the age where they want to play out.

“It would be lovely if the whole backs could look like this. Let’s get back to the old days where people took pride of the back yards and let the children play.”

Sue Winterbottom's grandsons Rhys and Jake helping clear the weeds.

Sue Winterbottom's grandsons Rhys and Jake helping clear the weeds.

Ward councillor Oscar Thynne said: “It is incredibly helpful if people can just do a bit outside their front door.

“We had a mixed view from people about it; the ones who have come and helped have been very engaged and said they wanted to get more people to adopt the same approach of getting stuck in and doing their bit and taking pride in their street.

“There are others who say it’s something the council should be doing.

“If people can do their bit it really does help the larger problem. This is something that councillors are recognising and trying to find a practical short-term solution to until we can find a long-term solution.”

Dorrington Road resident Gavin Greenwood took this photo of the pavement by his house.

Dorrington Road resident Gavin Greenwood took this photo of the pavement by his house.

Meanwhile, Green councillors have launched ‘Weeding Wednesdays’ to tackle city centre weeds.

Bulk ward councillors Caroline Jackson and Tim Hamilton-Cox, joined by locals, armed themselves with yellow jackets, old kitchen knives and yard brushes to make a significant dent in clearing the weeds from the paved triangle in the middle of the road at Stonewell.

Coun Caroline Jackson said: Lancaster is a popular tourist destination in the summer and I am finding it hard to be proud of our city centre at present because of all the weeds.”

County Coun Gina Dowding said: “This year the weed spraying has been stopped altogether as a result of county level funding cuts. I know a lot of people quite like the weeds but as councillors we feel it makes our city centre look uncared for.

Coun Caroline Jackson pictured at Stonewell before the weeding.

Coun Caroline Jackson pictured at Stonewell before the weeding.

“This was just a first attempt to see what equipment we needed and how hard a job it was, before organising more sessions in other areas.

“Staff in the environment department at Lancaster City Council are controlling weeds on council-owned property and have been quick to support initiatives by residents to improve the state of other areas.”

Coun David Smith, cabinet member with responsibility for environmental services, said: “The city council is always more than happy to support local residents wanting to put some pride back into where they live, work and play with the free loan of litter picking equipment as has been requested on this particular occasion.

“Anyone wanting to join their neighbours, friends and family in making a difference to their community by organising a clean-up will always get help from the council to get you started.

“As well as offering the free loan of all the equipment and taking away the litter collected at the end of the day, you will also be given the information you need to carry out a safe, successful and worthwhile event.

“Simply call the council on 01524 582454 or email publicrealm@lancaster.gov.uk with your proposal and requirements.”

Coun Tim Hamilton-Cox pictured at Stonewell after the weeding.

Coun Tim Hamilton-Cox pictured at Stonewell after the weeding.