The Location

Mountaineers could train on the rubbish piled up in the alleyway linking Downton and Cricklade Avenues, Streatham Hill SW2.

Even if they get through to the alleyway, their path would be blocked by an Everest of ripped mattresses. Ominous bones poke out of black plastic bags, tins of evil liquids leak across the pavement, and innocent passers-by change colour if they get too close. It is the sort of place that could have inspired James Herbert's rat epic Lair.

The Complaint

This site was nominated by Mrs Frieda Hannington, of Streatham Against Litter, a voluntary non-political group which operates cleaning patrols in the area several times a week.

'We're fed up with the mess here and we've asked Lambeth Council

several times to clear it up more often. They're meant to sweep the area several times a week but they don't do it. They say they don't have enough resources and their clearing-up equipment keeps breaking down.'

Roy Thompson, of Cricklade Avenue, knows all about that. 'My

garden runs next door to the alley, which is appallingly dirty. You can often see rats eating meat and they run into my garden where my children play. It's a real health hazard.'

The Reply

Linda Denyer, Lambeth Council press officer, said: 'I don't know why it hasn't been cleared away. I'll have to investigate it. One of the main problems in the area is that tradespeople don't want to pay for their rubbish to be taken away. Many of them dump it quietly at night.

'The council will be targeting 5,000 central Streatham households in a trial starting in October which will provide wheelie-bins for the area.'

Lambeth Council Street Cleansing Department (071-926 8775).

(Photograph omitted)


Independent London invites readers to nominate specific sites which are persistently filthy, filled with litter and otherwise neglected by local councils and other authorities. We will follow up the initial report to see if the site has changed for the better.

Readers Dives, Independent

London, 40 City Road EC1Y 2DB. Fax: 071-415 2200.