Feb 20 2014

Harrow’s shopping centres cleaner than ever, new figures reveal

harrow_council_logoHARROW’S shopping centres are looking cleaner than ever before with a record drop in complaints about street cleaning from residents across the borough, new figures reveal today (Monday 17th Feb).

In the last three months of 2013, Harrow Council’s decision to invest heavily in street cleaning paid early dividends with the borough’s main shopping centres all becoming nearly (98 per cent) litter free. This figure represents a six-fold decrease in the amount of litter recorded at the same time last year (falling from 12 per cent to 2 per cent).

Council crews clocked up some remarkable distances during the intense burst activity – deep cleaning total of 40 miles of roads in and around Harrow’s shopping centres. Elsewhere across Harrow, the council’s Blitz team – the new four-person unit set up to tackle specific problem areas – proved an outstanding success.

In just 12 weeks, the Blitz team picked up more than 250 tonnes of rubbish – the equivalent of a train locomotive or around 15 double decker buses.

Across Harrow’s green and open spaces, the authority’s investment of around £800,000 into environmental services also brought early returns. More than 450 acres of parks and open spaces – an area the size of Sherwood Forest – were returned to their former standards after the decision to reverse the previous “wild” maintenance regime.

The strong record in the last quarter of 2013 is the more remarkable given that it followed the storms in both October and December which diverted environment staff onto urgent repair duties – in the case of October’s storm for periods of up to 72 hours.

However there is still work to be done, the previous reductions in services have led to slight (3 and 7 per cent respectively) increases in litter and detritus overall in the last quarter; this is where the council will now direct its efforts.

The council’s new focus on a cleaner Harrow was reflected with a sharp drop in complaints about public realm services – the area of the authority that covers street cleaning, green spaces and bin collection.

In the three months to December 2013, complaints about public realm work dropped by 26 per cent – from 217 to 160. A number of those related to missed bins over the Christmas period (14).

Cllr Susan Hall, leader of Harrow Council and portfolio holder for the environment, said: “The real experts in how clean Harrow looks are the people who live here, and I am pleased that our renewed focus on a cleaner and safer Harrow is having an effect. However there is absolutely no room for complacency and we must and we will do better. We took a deliberate decision to clear the shopping areas first and use the blitz team to tackle the worst spots elsewhere, and are extremely optimistic that the success we’ve had in the shopping areas will soon be reflected as we turn our attention to the remaining parts of the borough.”

She continued: “Cleaning up Harrow was never going to be done overnight after years of neglect and there is a lot of work ahead. However, these early indicators show that we are turning around the drop in performance that was seen under previous administrations, and our war on litter and ‘grot spots’ will be unrelenting.”

Harrow Council’s campaign to recruit a Neighbourhood Champion on every street – all 2,068 of them – has now passed half-way mark. There are currently 948 NCs with 244 in the pipeline to be trained, and recruitment enquiries coming in to the council at five a day.

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  1. sonoo malkani

    A cleaner,fresher more hygenic borough is bound to help Harrow attract more custom into its shops and boost the local economy.Being environmentally friendly is definitely in the interests of all our citizens.You are making Harrow more “user friendly”,welcoming and a pleasure to be in.
    Good to know that we have already achieved “results” from the cleaning brigade,and look forward to seeing the work going forward full swing.Great deterrent for criminals who historically thrive in areas that are looking tired,run-down and neglected.Can’t wait to shove them off our borough!
    Every single thing which deters crime counts.Keeping Harrow litter free and tidy helps enormously towards that important goal.Don’t under-estimate its value.

    Our Neighbourhood Champions recruitment is in full swing as well and is already having an excellent impact in preventing crime by promoting crime prevention messages and also by providing intelligence to our local cops.This helps Harrow Police to detect crimes such as cannabis factories being run in ordinary residential dwellings and even shut down brothels.

    Hats off to Harrow Police working locally to keep us safe,our hard-working Council workers for keeping Harrow clean and inviting and to our single Neighbourhood Champion for all that you do 24/7.
    Together we are a formidable crime-fighting team!Viva Harrow.

  2. Harrow Dude

    More Susie spin yet again the figures do not add up. The Blitz Team could not have possibly picked up 250 tonnes of rubbish in 12 weeks , we’ve seen the vehicle they use, 4 tonnes a day how do they fit in all the tea breaks . As for the parks if memory serves me correctly the plan WAS to let certain parks and open spaces grow into wilderness parks but this never actually happened so there couldn’t have been anything to return to a “former standard”.

    Of course Harrow looks cleaner but the facts are when Susie supported or some might say instigated the mutiny within the Labour group and the usurped the ILG, she some how managed to find an extra £800k if you believe that figure, I suspect it is higher. Susie then had to supplement the deficit in council staff with agency staff to achieve this miraculous clean up.

    Where did this money come from and how is she going to sustain this level of agency staff after May…If she gets in? As for Susie’s Neighbourhood Champions I’m still waiting for the figures on how effective they are, Susie did promise to get back to me…I’m still waiting

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