Fears for trade as rubbish mounts up outside shops

A TRADER in Downend fears shoppers could turn their backs on the area after he claims council cuts have left the main high street looking a mess.


A TRADER in Downend fears shoppers could turn their backs on the area after he claims council cuts have left the main high street looking a mess.

Jamie Cole, who runs coffee and sandwich shop Baguette Me Not, says from Monday to Friday the six bins alongside the shops in Badminton Road are emptied like clockwork and the road is kept spick and span.

But he said cuts to weekend staff mean bins are left to overflow and broken glass and take-away wrappers from Friday and Saturday nights are now a common sight.

He is calling on South Gloucestershire Council to take action before shopkeepers lose vital trade to places like picturesque Chipping Sodbury.

Jamie, who runs the business with wife Bev, said: “On Monday to Friday the street cleaner is fantastic and is always round here clearing out the bins and cleaning the road but because of cutbacks he’s only allowed to work one weekend in four.

 “So none of the bins in the high streets in Staple Hill and Downend get touched on weekends. 

“Downend gets really busy Friday nights with all the takeaways, shops and restaurants so by Saturday morning the bins are overflowing and there are smashed bottles lying around them. Then, when you get to Sunday morning, it just looks filthy – like an absolute tip.

“By Monday the street cleaner has to do three times as much work to get it back to normal.”

South Gloucestershire Council needs to make cuts of £43million by 2014/15. It is proposing to make savings of around £328,000 by transferring “street scene” services to town and parish councils and community groups. 

However the collection of litter is not included in the plans and, the authority pledges it will continue to “ensure the area is free from litter, weeds, graffiti, fly posting and fly tipping”.

Jamie, 48, said the road sweeping machine which is used to clean pavements is now a rare sight. “You hardly ever see it about anymore. I think I’ve seen it once in the last two months.

“It’s turning into an untidy area and looking a bit of a mess. We put a lot of effort into our business to make it look good and when you’ve got a bin outside your shop which is overflowing and looks a mess, people will go elsewhere.

“If people go out to a restaurant or cafe the last thing they want to see is rubbish so they’re going to go to more scenic places like Chipping Sodbury or Thornbury.

“We get a lot of mums with pushchair coming in before they go off for the day and with glass lying about it’s just not safe.

“We pay enough business rates to expect the bins in the high street to be cleaned.”

A council spokesman said: “Our street cleansing teams monitor all areas within our responsibility to ensure that they are kept clean and tidy at all times.

“On occasions, some areas do experience an increase in litter, for various reasons. Where this happens we will investigate and if required, take appropriate measures such as increasing the frequency of our litter picking regime.”

South Gloucestershire Council is currently consulting on plans to transfer some of its outdoor services including the maintenance of grass verges and shrubs, floral displays and hanging baskets. 

Town and parish councils and community groups will be offered a “buy back” service from the council.

Residents have until September 13 to have their say. Visit www.consultations.southglos.gov.uk to find out more.