'Our town wouldn't smell like this if the council was on top of fly-tipping problem' says business owner as Northampton Borough Council issues new warnings

One of the pictures from Cathie Kemp
One of the pictures from Cathie Kemp

A business owner behind a one-woman campaign to clean up Northampton's streets says she is not convinced by fresh assurances from the borough council that they are taking firm action against fly-tippers.

As the Chron reported earlier this week Cathie Kemp, of Sew Something in Wellingborough Road, has been posting pictures on Twitter of rubbish being dumped outside homes and businesses in the town.
One of Cathie's criticisms was that the borough council did not respond to her tweets or appear to take action over the fly-tipping she was reporting.

One of the pictures from Cathie Kemp

One of the pictures from Cathie Kemp

Within hours of the Chron's story appearing online on Wednesday, the borough council had responded on Twitter to all of Cathie's previous tweets.

And yesterday (Friday July 5), the borough council issued a statement in response from Councillor Mike Hallam, cabinet member for environment, to say they support Cathie's efforts and to reassure her that contractors clear up the rubbish as quickly as they can. He also said that issue fines and to take action the council needed "either solid evidence or a witness".

Cathie, though, is not convinced by the council's assurances.

"This is the joke of it - still to this day they have never once contacted me. They have asked for all my details, which I provided, but they have never got in touch and never asked for copies of the pictures I've taken, nor the information that I've got that will identify the person who did it.

One of the pictures from Cathie Kemp

One of the pictures from Cathie Kemp

"The fact is that they keep telling us they are doing things - either they are not doing them or it's not working. I just don't get it - but I will not give up.

"With the hot weather, the smell in some areas of the town is disgusting. There is a particular area of Kettering Road and Talbot Road where it stinks. It's worse than being in the tip. It wouldn't smell like that if they were on top of the problem," Cathie added.

In the statement, Councillor Mike Hallam, Northampton Borough Council Cabinet member for environment, said: “We really appreciate Cathie’s efforts and our contractors do clear these fly-tips up as quickly as they can.

“This behaviour is totally unacceptable and our Neighbourhood Wardens work very hard to enforce where possible. In order to do this they need either solid evidence or a witness, which are often hard to come by.

One of the pictures from Cathie Kemp

One of the pictures from Cathie Kemp

“As recently pointed out by the Chron, we placed third in the country for the number of Fixed Penalty Notices handed out last year and we will continue taking a no-tolerance approach until people get the message.

“The problem lies with a minority of Northampton’s residents, while the majority are the ones who suffer. More and more people are willing to help us deal with this problem by acting as our eyes and ears in the community.

“Our message is simple: It’s not difficult to keep our town tidy, so do it or risk facing hefty penalties.”

A spokesman said a visit to the council website at http://selfserve.northampton.gov.uk/mycouncil/reportIt.html is the most effective route to report problems with littering and fly-tipping.

Anyone wishing to provide evidence of fly-tipping or who is willing to be a witness can email neighbourhoodwardens@northampton.gov.uk with details.