Council says it won’t help businesses clean up in fly-tipping blight battle

The scene on the approach to the Stanhope Industrial?Estate in? Stanford-le-Hope just hours after businesses spent thousands of pounds cleaning it up.

A?THURROCK businessman has told of his decades of frustration dealing with the borough council as he battles the blight of fly-tipping on his property.
Lee Wiggins is the owner of Stanford Coachworks and Mobility Services based on the Stanhope Industrial Estate, Wharf Road, in Stanford-le-Hope and his anger over a perceived lack of interest by the council in solving the problem of fly-tipping on the estate boiled over this week when, just hours after a clean-up operation costing £3,000, more rubbish was scattered over the approach road to the site.
Mr?Wiggins says he and other businesses on the estate are fed up with being left to deal with the problem on their own.
In a statement to the Thurrock Independent last week he told of his frustration, saying:?“This road had been cleaned the day before with all the business on the site contributing with staff helping to clean and spending thousands of pounds.
“This is an ongoing problem with sofas, fridges, rubbish and even a lorry being dumped in the middle of the road. This causes serious hazards for staff and customers driving onto the site and enormous expense for the businesses on the site. Even though the road is private the estate is forbidden from installing a gate by the council to prevent people from fly tipping. Yet we receive no support from the council to manage the problem. They don’t even offer help or advice.
“It is another example of councils not supporting local business that employ local people and support the community.
“Our business alone employes over 45 local people and hundreds of people in the community are supported by businesses on this site.”
The paper contacted Thurrock Council whose statement issued on Tuesday appeared to conflict with Mr?Wiggins’ account.
Though the council had been supplied with all the contact details by the Thurrock Independent they did not get in touch with the firm, instead saying:?“We don’t have any records of applications for planning permission to build a gate so it might be a good idea to go back to your contact at the industrial estate to ask them how they have asked for permission to build a gate and who they spoke to.”
We also contacted portfolio holder for the environment, Cllr Aaron Watkins who batted the clean-up and prevention problem right back to Mr Wiggins, saying:?“Our officers investigate all fly-tips, on private and council land, to gather evidence to assist us in bringing prosecutions against people illegally dumping waste in Thurrock in line with our zero tolerance approach to environmental crime. When waste is fly-tipped on private land, as is the case in Wharf Road, it is the responsibility of the landowner to remove it.”
In response Mr Wiggins told us:?“I must have spoken to the council planning department a hundred times over the 25 years, I have been on the site.
“I cannot believe they say they have no record of this but it sounds about par for the course.
“They are not interested in helping businesses. We put a gate up once but they told us to take it down, even though it’s our private road.
“The people on this site pay hundreds of thousands of pounds in rates but we get nothing. No lights, no security, no help, nothing, even the police don’t want to know what goes on. We spend thousands a year clearing up tipping, the council is just not interested in helping us.”