Little hope of 'disgraceful' Northampton town centre alleyway getting cleaned up anytime soon

'It saddens me what has happened - I can't believe it, it's completely ruined'

Friday, 18th September 2020, 7:24 am

An alleyway in Northampton town centre has been described as a 'disgrace' after becoming a 'dumping ground' in recent weeks - with little hope of it improving.

Fly-tipping, commercial bins overflowing, residents not disposing of their rubbish responsibly and a lack of supervision are thought to be behind the messy alley off Sheep Street.

Northampton Borough Council says it is working with the owner of the private lane to 'prompt better compliance' as well as businesses who use it to maintain better control of their waste.

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Rubbish has been strewn all along the side of the alley on Sheep Street

But the owner of one of the neighbouring buildings, whose tenant often used to clear up the alley, fears the issue will not improve without further action.

Ermir Sefolli told the Chronicle & Echo: "I'm disappointed with the whole thing because I have got tenants in a building who aren't happy to pay their rent as it's a dumping ground to be honest.

"It's just a nightmare. It's one of those things that as much as you try to do something about it, there's always something happening which gets in the way."

Mr Sefolli, who is the landlord for The Kabin newsagents and Les Olives tapas bar. The bar remains closed having shut in March because of the coronavirus lockdown.

Rubbish has been strewn all along the side of the alley on Sheep Street

The landlord says he has been battling with the council and his surrounding business owners to keep the lane tidy for years as it is a constant problem.

A gate was installed to address the fly-tipping issue but it cannot be locked because it is a fire escape, while Mr Sefolli said the residents in the flats above do not care about keeping it clean.

The problem has gotten much worse while Les Olives has been closed as the restaurant owner would regularly clean the alley despite it not being his responsibility.

"The council must hate me because of the amount of times I have fought with them about it, sometimes it wasn't very nice but they understand my frustration," he said.

Rubbish has been strewn all along the side of the alley on Sheep Street

"Something has to be done but every time it's 'we can't do this because of that,' or, 'it's private land,' but surely there must be something they can do to stop people from throwing rubbish everywhere.

"I went a couple of days ago and it saddened me what has happened - I can't believe it, it's completely ruined.

"It fills up with rubbish and you can't step anywhere as it's so full but no one is trying to do anything."

Market stall holder Eamonn 'Fitzy' Fitzgerald, who walks past the lane regularly, reported it to the council on Twitter but was told to email details to its environmental health team.

"I have been banging on about it for a week and I'm a bit disappointed by the council's attitude towards it," he told the Chron.

"It must be someone's responsibility but it's a disgrace to the town centre - whoever it belongs to, it needs sorting out. It gets worse every day."

A council spokesman explained it was ultimately up to the owner to keep it in reasonable condition but neighbourhood wardens regularly check the area given the history of issues and it has cleared the site in the past.

"We served an enforcement notice on the owners of the alleyway in April last year, following which the situation did improve for a while," they added.

"This also led to the installation of a gate to prevent people from fly-tipping but as this alleyway is a fire escape, it cannot be locked.

"We continue to work with businesses using the alley to ensure they maintain better control of their waste and with the owner to try and prompt better compliance."