Community group campaigns to close road to cars to stop fly-tipping hotspot

By Tara O’Connor, Local Democracy Reporter

A beauty spot in Mitcham has been blighted by fly-tipping as huge amounts of rubbish pile up.

The Mitcham and Cricket Green Community and Heritage group says it has been trying to get the rubbish in Willow Lane sorted for months.

Secretary Tony Burton says the issue stems from a decision to open up the road to cars in 2013.

He said: “That opened up the possibility that it could be used for fly-tipping, it is a secluded road.

“We think the road should be reinstated as a pedestrian and cycling route.

“The tipping started small and because nothing was done it has grown and grown. It is concentrated in the conservation area and on Mitcham Common.

“Quite a lot of it is in bags and looks like stuff from house clearances there is rubble and there was a bed at one point.”

Willow Lane is a one way road which was opened to cars so drivers could have a more direct route to an industrial estate – it was previously a semi-rural lane.

Merton council was asked what will be done about the fly-tipping described as a “health hazard” ahead of a meeting on Wednesday, November 17.

It shares responsibility for the issue with the Mitcham Common Conservators who have been the legal custodians of the common since 1891.

A written answer from Councillor Natasha Irons, cabinet member for local environment and green spaces, said: “I am pleased to advise that the council is actively supporting those responsible for managing this land and assisting them in finding a long-term solution.

“A project team is well established with representatives from all impacted stakeholders including the Mitcham Conservators.

“To support the funding of this project, the waste service has submitted a bid for two fixed CCTV units to cover this stretch of Willow Lane. The conservators have agreed to contribute to this with the clearance of the fly-tip.”

But Mr Burton thinks installing more CCTV won’t solve the problem.

He added: “Willow Lane used to be a very nice way to experience Mitcham Common and it is a key route for people walking to Willow Lane Industrial Estate from the station and buses.

“We are calling for action, we think there needs to be thinking for the long term not a sticking plaster.

“The CCTV cameras aren’t going to address the fundamental issues.”

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