Call to ‘clean up Kemp Town’

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More than 600 people in Kemp Town have signed a petition urging the council and its Cityclean service to help keep the area ‘as clean as Hove’.

Kemp Town resident Arabella Kump presented the “Clean up Kemp Town” petition to Brighton and Hove City Council at a meeting yesterday (June 25).

Rubbish In Kemp Town

Rubbish In Kemp Town

The petition called on the council “to focus on the enormous amount of street litter, human faeces on stairs and beach, overflowing bins, unsatisfactory street cleaning, dog fouling and graffiti throughout Kemp Town”.

It added: “We also need to improve recycling access and sorting to all households.”

The council said that a shortage of staff had affected the area but more people were being recruited and that it would step up its focus on graffiti.

At Hove Town Hall, Ms Kump told the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee: “There is a big discrepancy between the cleanliness on the streets of Kemp Town and the rest of Brighton and Hove.

An abandoned bike

An abandoned bike

“I have met with every single business in the Kemp Town high street and asked them for their input and advice on dealing with this issue.

“I have been met with outrage, disbelief, shock and anger at the unfairness of the state of our streets compared to Hove – or anywhere else in the Brighton and Hove area.

“Cityclean is contracted to clean the whole of the area. However, Kemp Town is not given anywhere near the same level of cleaning as the rest of Brighton.

“We certainly do not look like the concourse by the i360.

“I have been led to understand that Cityclean start at Hove and work their way down to our area but often there is not enough time or resources to give us the same level of cleaning service. However, we pay the same rates.

“Cityclean is an internal council-run enterprise therefore should be subject to reviews measurement processes, continuous monitoring and accountability.

“Unbelievably there is no monitoring system in place to ensure that they actually clean when they say they are going to.”

She said that she had been in touch with the Labour MP for Brighton Kemptown, Lloyd Russell-Moyle, on several occasions and that he and his staff had taken the issue seriously.

He passed on a response from Cityclean which said: “We are currently recruiting street cleansing operatives to fill vacant posts and we are introducing an additional graffiti cleaning role.

“We are covering the vacant posts with agency staff while we go through the recruitment process.

“There were temporary arrangements in place that have negatively impacted the cleanliness of the area.

“We have now put in permanent arrangements and for street cleaning to focus on deep cleaning problem sites. This will be a regular task and will improve the cleanliness.

“As Kemp Town is a large area we are also using additional resources such as cleaning machines (Scarbs) to add extra support.

“When we have spare staff we are allocating these staff to the area to bring it back to a good standard that we will then maintain. The team leader is monitoring the area and responding to issues.

“I am hopeful that the above actions will improve the cleanliness of Kemp Town and we will keep this area under review.”

Ms Kump added: “Cityclean acknowledge that they are giving Kemp Town well below the accepted service and have promised additional resources.

“While the actions laid out all sound good, none of it means anything unless you – the council – put checks in place to make sure that they actually carry out their promises and fulfil their contractual obligations to the full – not only their promises but their everyday cleaning of Kemp Town.

“I now pass the baton to you all to make sure that this is followed up and to put in place ongoing measures to monitor Cityclean’s efficiency in Kemp Town.

“You, the council, are responsible to us, the residents. We will continue to monitor and measure you.

“Please stop this discrimination of Kemp Town by ensuring that we are given the same level of service as the rest of Brighton and Hove.”

Councillor Anne Pissaridou, who chairs the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, said: “Cityclean recognises that cleaning in Kemp Town has fallen below standard and we apologise.”

Councillor Pissaridou said that Cityclean was recruiting more staff and increasing the number of collections and was committed to tackling graffiti.

She added: “It will take time and resources so please bear with us as we move forward on this.”

By Frank Le Duc, Local Democracy Reporting Service.