Cobholm gets resident-led spring clean

Old furniture, household clutter and even a church organ piled up in the streets of Cobholm as people discarded tonnes of household rubbish in a pioneering resident-led spring clean.

Old furniture, household clutter and even a church organ piled up in the streets of Cobholm as people discarded tonnes of household rubbish in a pioneering resident-led spring clean.

While environmental action days take place regularly this is the first to be organised by the community in what is hoped will be a model for future schemes across the county.

And the expertise of the police underwater search and recovery team were called upon to clear out a dirty ditch ­- also a first for officers more used to searching murky waters for bodies then old bikes.

They found a motorcycle, a lawn mower and a safe that had had its door smashed off and was thought to have been discarded after a robbery.

Road markings were repainted, drains unblocked, litter picked up, burglar alarms checked by police, fire hazards pointed out by the fire service and lorries came to take people's junk away.

And local artist John Dashwood was hard at work painting a large mural on the side of a house which is notorious for graffiti.

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It is hoped that the improvements will have a longer lasting effect then past police-led initiatives as people take pride in the effort they have put in and keep the streets clean.

Mark Llewellyn, secretary of the residents association, who had the idea said: “It has always been looked at as the authorities and us. People are now realising that they have to work with the authorities. Now people need to realise they will have to work to keep the area clean as well.

“Pride in the environment has a knock on effect on an area including lowering crime,” he added.

And he said he hoped the makeover was such a success that the community could get involved in Flowers in Bloom next year.

Dave Gladden, who has organised similar days in the past on behalf of authorities, said: “I am here in a supporting role today which is really pleasing. The community is now telling us what affects their lives. What is really good is that the work is more likely to be maintained then the old environmental action days.”

Cobholm resident Lynn Gibbons, 50, who spent the morning litter picking, said it was an excellent idea.

“It gives people a chance to get rid of rubbish rather then dumping it. I hope this happens more often,” she said.

Lisa Rose, 38, meanwhile said: “It will be nice to have it cleared up for a change. It's brilliant that we are all getting together to do this. It makes us like a big family.”