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Gruelling campaign to clean up Chatham

Date: 28/07/2008           Category: Community Safety

Nearly 20 skips of rubbish, rubble and weeds have been cleared from an estate in Chatham, during a week-long clean-up campaign involving Medway Council, Kent Probation Service, Kent Police in Medway, and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. All week, 20 offenders under the supervision of Kent Probation's Community Payback Officers have been clearing rubbish, including dumped fridges, car batteries, televisions and weeds from alleyways on the privately owned White Road estate. The also cut back overgrown branches from trees and bushes, and dug up weeds. The areas the team targeted were Baffin Close; Gerald Avenue; Keyes Avenue; Glencoe Road. Medway Council’s Senior Environmental Enforcement Officer Ian Burrell said: “Some of the alleyways probably hadn’t been cleared in 20 years, so it was extremely tough and hard work in some areas. The men have worked incredibly hard and should be extremely pleased with their efforts. “Residents have told the Safer Communities Officers about the concerns they have and what they would like us to do to improve the estate. These comments will now be fed back to the team and we’ll be working in the area to ensure we keep up the good work.” Untaxed vehicles were removed from the estate, while residents were given the chance to raise any issues and concerns with members of the Medway Safer Communities Team. The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) also issued six prohibition notices to people whose vehicles were un-roadworthy. Kevin Kirby, Community Payback Officer from Kent Probation, said: “We took men off our normal projects to ensure this project was a success. “The community really threw their support behind the team by offering the men drinks and allowing us to use the community centre as a base for lunch breaks. “It was hard work and one of the guys even fixed a fence for one woman to stop her dog from escaping the garden. I hope everyone has learned something from this positive experience.” mhs homes is one of several independent housing associations that owns properties on the estate. Acting Environmental Services Manager at mhs homes Alan Hughes said: “This successful scheme is part of a regeneration programme of the White Road Estate to help improve the neighbourhood. The results so far have been very positive.” Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Enforcement Cllr Rehman Chishti added: “This is a great example of partnership working to help improve this community.” PC Richard Strable said: “'We are thrilled with the success of this initiative and what has been achieved. “As a result of the Partners and Communities Together (PACT) process, residents are able to highlight issues which are important to them and plans can be put in motion to solve any problems and make neighbourhoods a nicer place to live.”