Earlsdon Councillor Allan Andrews has urged the city council to take more proactive steps to improve the cleanliness of local shopping districts following a rise in the number of complaints received by residents.
Cllr. Andrews has been contacted by a number of residents concerned that nothing is done to remove chewing gum from busy shopping areas, such as Earlsdon Street.
Following discussions with senior council officers, Cllr. Andrews was surprised to learn that the council has no ability to remove chewing gum from pavements. In the city centre, high pressure gum removal equipment is used, but that has been funded by local businesses via the Business Improvement District, which is not applicable in Earlsdon or other areas in the city.
Cllr. Andrews asked officials to contact the BID to see if a solution could be found, and they have agreed that the equipment can be hired at a cost of £70 per hour. The work is extremely labour intensive and it currently completes approximately 20 square metres per hour when removing chewing gum in the city centre.
Commenting, Allan said: “It is surprising that the council does not own the necessary equipment itself to provide this basic service of chewing gum removal given that it can make an area look quite messy and unkempt. Having explored the options available, it would seem that local traders in Earlsdon may be asked to end up footing the bill, on top of the significant business rates they already pay.
“Whilst it is very good of the city centre BID to allow us to hire their equipment, it is not a viable long term solution for the city council to simply say to local communities keep paying your council tax but look after yourself when it comes to basic issues like removing litter from our streets.”