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Fly-tipping fines to increase amid claims West Hampstead has become rubbish bag ‘obstacle course’

Residents say piled up rubbish bags are ruining their enjoyment of local restaurants

28 November, 2016 — By Richard Osley

Chantelle de Villiers speaks at Monday’s full council meeting

PENALTIES for fly-tipping are to be upped as the Town Hall comes under fire for piles of uncollected rubbish stacking up in West Hampstead.

Councillors were told that the area’s reputation was being “undermined by the state of West End Lane” by two women who asked to speak at Monday’s all-member meeting.

Chantelle de Villiers said residents found themselves “manoeuvring through an obstacle course created by piles of rubbish”.

She added: “Although not all fly-tipping is business waste, it is often led by businesses depositing waste at the wrong time or indeed the wrong place, and then other fly-tippers adding to the waste left by businesses.

“Waste left for collection seems also to be attracting loose waste, creating an untidy and unclean appearance, and leading to an increase in vermin.”

Chantelle de Villiers speaks in front of Monday’s full council meeting

Her ideas included changes to collection times, stiffer fines for fly-tippers and a public bin at West End Green for restaurants to use if they had missd the last pick-up.

“West Hampstead is a desirable neighbourhood with a great reputation but that is somewhat being undermined by the state of West End Lane,” she added

Helen Harris told the meeting “the battle is ongoing”, adding: “We enjoy the diverse restaurants and bars and it’s a shame that the experience is blighted by the mess, perhaps more cooperation is needed to ensure the most suitable collection times.”

Environment chief Councillor Meric Apak said that the council was looking to crack down on fly-tipped rubbish.

“We are bringing tougher penalties and tougher controls to offenders,” he added. “We are doubling the penalties and also making the process much more easier to follow through.”

Conservative councillor Oliver Cooper said the idea of bigger fines had first been suggested by his party, and that he was glad the Labour-run council was listening to the opposition.

While fines will be ratcheted up to £200, however, the Tories believe they should be raised as high as £400, in line with the penalty for people caught in neighbouring boroughs of Westminster and Islington.

The deputation did not take up an invitation from West Hampstead ward councillor Phil Rosenberg, part of the Labour group, to campaign against cuts to local government spending. Ms de Villiers said: “I wouldn’t want to get into party politics. I’m just a resident. I walk down West End Lane pretty much every day and I’m having to walk over these piles of bin bags. I don’t think this is about cuts. Maybe there could be better use of the money that has been allocated to you.”

Liberal Democrat councillor Flick Rea said: “If you solve the problem of flats over the shops with no access to the bins, you’ll solve the problem not just for West Hampstead but right across the capital.”

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