Neighbours of award-winning council estate blighted by rubbish and rats
- Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021
Flytipping, people urinating over balconies and a lack of respect from the council — these are just some of the issues facing close neighbours to an internationally recognised council estate.
Council workers cleared away larger fly-tipped items on Wednesday, just hours after the local democracy reporting service reached out for comment, but a pair of residents said waste remained.
The council admitted "recurring issues" at the site but insisted clearing the waste was not in response to media queries.
“I feel like we are being treated like second class citizens by the council,” said 67-year-old Maria Duffield, of Goldsmith Street
“The view you have when you open the door is rubbish.
“They don’t clean it properly, it is terrible, and this has been going on for months."
Even after cleaning rubbish this morning, Ms Duffied and her neighbour, Michael Harnden, said the council had not cleaned properly, leaving beer cans and other waste.
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Mr Harnden said the issue had been going on for as long as his partner had lived there - around seven years.
Both highlighted the contrast between their treatment and the properties opposite, a set of multi-award-winning council buildings, which Ms Duffield said seemed to get cleaned every day.
"They only clean that side because it is new because it wins awards. It is wrong. There's been rats and loads of flies [on this side]," she said.
Mr Harnden said he had to put a fence around his property, otherwise, his flat would open out into the courtyard used as for bin storage and a children's play area.
"It's rank, if these flats were built now they would be built the other way round.
"There is this play area and bin area at the back together in the same place.
"You used to see kids climbing on the bins but they don't seem to play out there much anymore.
"It just looks rubbish in comparison to the ones across the street.
"The bin men come and take the bins and big stuff, but there's no maintenance to the area.
"It's just left as if it isn't anyone's responsibility - it just needs a bit of TLC."
Ms Duffield also complained some of her neighbours did not know "how to live in a community", with people chucking bottles and cigarettes, and spitting over the balconies.
Last year, she said one resident was seen urinating into the gardens below.
Unlike Ms Duffield, Mr Harnden said he had not experienced the same level of antisocial behaviour.
"You have got a mix of people here, they're friendly people but when the area isn't looked after it doesn't encourage people to look after it either," he said.
"People think 'the council doesn't care, so why should we?'"
Mancroft ward Green Party councillor, Jamie Osborn, said the council needs to get better at responding to antisocial behaviour.
"People who report antisocial behaviour often feel like they are being ignored or forgotten as they wait weeks for some response only to be told that their case is closed," he said.
He added: "It is incredibly frustrating when council estates seem to be forgotten areas and are left with flytipping and rubbish strewn over them for months."
Mr Osborn added that the council had underspent on its estates aesthetics programme by £396,000, money he argues could be used for places like Goldsmith Street.
A spokesperson for Norwich City Council said they wanted residents to "feel pride in the area surrounding their homes" and recurring issues are being investigated.
She said: “Residents are encouraged to continue to report all issues when they happen so that we can work with contractors to resolve them as quickly as possible, and to let us know about improvements they would like for their estates.”
The spokesperson said communal bin areas are routinely cleaned and additional clean-ups can be arranged, and while flies and rats are not specifically monitored, officers make regular inspections.
Addressing antisocial behaviour at the flats, the spokesperson said no reports had been made from the address since February 2020, until a general enquiry was logged yesterday.
The spokesperson added there are specific guidelines for the use of the aesthetics budget but all residents can make suggestions for its use.
On Thursday, Norwich City Council overview and scrutiny committee will be discussing fly-tipping issues around the city.