The Wombles of, erm, Crewe!

The Wombles of Wimbledon picked the litter that other Londoners dropped; a dedicated team of volunteers do the same each month around Crewe. Let’s celebrate the Crewe Clean Team…

Back in Crewe for the first time on a Saturday in several months, I grabbed the opportunity to link up with the fabulous community litter pickers known at the Crewe Clean Team. It’s a group of fifty like-minded people, and about twenty turn up for any given pick.

The latest purge of paper, plastic and polystyrene took place around Parkers Road in Leighton, down the cycle/walk paths that connect with Bradfield Road, Minshull New Road and as far as Underwood Lane. It’s my old stomping ground, so I was keen to see how things had changed.

What struck me was the sheer volume of debris. In an area that has a high percentage of home owners, a supposedly affluent part of the town, I’d assumed that we wouldn’t find masses of rubbish. It would be odd bits here and there, perhaps blown from overflowing bins. Wrong.

Crewe Clean Team around Leighton (2)

Leighton was no different to the other Crewe locations the team has cleared of crap (quite literally) across all four corners of the town over several years. Worst of all, especially in an area with access to some gorgeous and safe walkways, the amount of discarded dog poop bags was incredible. Tossed into hedges, left by the side of paths and hurled into wooded area. Disgusting.

Do schools still discuss litter?

Many years ago, when my lads attended Mablins Lane Primary, there were lessons about litter, protecting the countryside and disposing of rubbish properly. They had a recycling officer (one of my lads represented the school briefly) and litter picking teams in hi-vis jackets kept the hawthorn hedge clear of sweet wrappers and bottles the around the school’s perimeter.

Does that still happen, at schools across Crewe? It should do, and not just a token effort. There should, IMO, be a thirty-second reminder each day. EVERY day. As the children leave for home, many en route to the nearby COOP for post-school ‘treats’ they should be reminded about using bins and how wrong it is to casually discard unwanted items.

Just last week I watched a youngster drop litter. He was about eight years old. He didn’t just drop his crisp packet, he seemed to take great delight in tossing the greasy piece of plastic into the air. When I asked him why he just shrugged his shoulders and walked away.

Should the council do more?

A littler further afield from the many Leighton new-builds, one area myself and two clean team chaps covered was the Leighton Greenway. It’s a stretch that offers superb open spaces away from traffic. What a mess. Part of the route tucks behind the old Merlin pub, now looking very neglected.

Crewe Clean Team around Leighton - old Merlin pub

That’s a shame, but venture further along the route and you see vast mounds of rubbish spilling over fences from gardens that back onto the otherwise beautiful greenery. Guess what? This eventually starts to blow across the long grass and paths. It also attracts vermin.

Crewe Clean Team around Leighton (5)

Once upon a time I remember Wulvern Housing chasing tenants that ditched rubbish in this manner. Does the new housing provider The Guinness Partnership do similar? Also, does Cheshire East Council have the will, resources or legal power to track down offenders and take action?

It’s a sorry and quite depressing sight. The Crewe Clean Team do their best, bundling bags of general waste and cans, leaving some at drop-off points where the council’s bin wagons can collect them the following day. They also notify the council about serious grot spots. But you have to ask why does it get this bad?

Crewe Clean Team around Leighton (6)

There’s been a big push nationally and internationally to reduce reliance upon plastic products. There is genuine shock when people watch TV images of the world’s oceans clogged with unwanted pop bottles. I say great, but let’s take a long, hard look about how we all behave on our own doorsteps as well.

The council struggles to keep on top of litter, emptying bins and keeping roadsides clear of rubbish. They have cut services, trimmed budgets – but that’s another article. Thankfully, the Crewe Clean Team does wonders for the local environment and sets a great example to anyone that sees them in action.

Join them. Do as they do. Look after the town.

Find out more on their Facebook page HERE


Jules Hornbrook writes articles about Cheshire and Lancashire, plus content for business websites.

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