Roath residents anger over student rubbish

June 7, 2011 23 Comments »
Roath residents anger over student rubbish

margaret harries

Students are creating a big stink along a street in Cardiff as they are failing to get rid of their rubbish, a residents’ group said yesterday.

Homeowners along Mackintosh Place, near Albany Road, said the towering bags of uncollected rubbish were festering in the heat and creating a strench.

One landlord in the area said there were an increasing number of rodents and birds scavenging among the bags of decomposing rubbish.

Widowed grandmother-of-two Margaret Harries, 80, who has lived on the street for 51 years,  said the street had become a “slum”.

The residents’ group chair said students needed to put their rubbish out on the correct collection days – and the council should take rubbish from inside property boundaries.

Mrs Harries said: “I mean the smell, especially in this warm weather, is atrocious. It’s a disgrace – There are bottles and tins of food just dumped on the ground and not even put in  bags. I’m waiting on an epidemic to start.

“We are living in a slum and we are paying for it. We pay our rates so I can’t see why we  need to put up with this stinking rubbish.

“I don’t have anything against  students but we’re trying to keep our streets tidy, and I  can’t see why the council won’t do anything.”

Mum of two Beverly Brtany and her husband Janos, 64, have lived on the street for 35 years.

But the smell and mess has become such a problem that the couple have begun searching for a new home.

Mrs Brtany, 66, said: “It’s like living in a slum, and it’s not just now – It’s all the time. I’m ashamed for people to see it.

“I have approached landlords and they have told me in no uncertain terms to ‘F’ off. They  don’t care.”

Sajid Qasim, office manager at estate agent company Acorn Estates, said: “We have seen a  high increase of rodent activity and birds. If birds see a bag outside, they will peck at it.”

Mr Qasim said his company makes students aware of waste collection days by putting notices inside their rented properties.

He said the council must make students aware of their waste responsibilities at the start of  each academic year.

“When freshers’ week is on, they should show the students what days their bags should be put out.”

Cardiff council maintained they would not collect waste from household frontages, except where “the location of waste in the frontage is identified to be a nuisance”.

A spokeswoman said: “Cardiff council collects all household waste from the kerbside and all  residents across the city are directed to place their bins and bin bags on the kerbside on  their waste collection days.

“The Council’s Waste Management Education team work very closely with Cardiff University, in particular the Student’s Union to educate and advise the student community to improve the local area for all residents and visitors.”

Do you live in the area? Have you seen any problems? Let us know your views in the comments below

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  1. Ian June 7, 2011 at 9:34 am - Reply

    I used to live in Cathays and I agree the way the litter is strewn around is terrible.

    One week while we were living there the council failed to collect any rubbish from our street, despite all bins being available at the expected time. This resulted in an enforc notice warning us that should our house be identified again, we'd get a £100 fine. Obviously we complained and the matter was resolved.

    There are three easy solutions:

    1) Stricter enforcement. One imagines that leaving rubbish curbside on non-bin days amounts to fly tipping. If these enforcement notices were issued regularly and followed up on (not empty threats) then you can bet the students (who rarely have a spare £100) would start to think twice about their refuse
    2) Wheelie bins. Some areas of cardiff have wheelies bins, some do not. Lane access doesn't come into it. Rodents and birds cannot get into wheelie bins.
    3) At the times of year when students go home (end of term, easter holidays, end of the student year etc) the council should put on more frequent colletcions. It is no good reminding a student that their collection day is a Monday when they are all moving out on the Wednesday.

  2. @xgfx June 7, 2011 at 9:44 am - Reply

    This has been a problem in the Albany road area for a while. The council seem to be indifferent about it all.

    Even though I support the new rubbish/recycling plans due to be introduced, I can only imagine them worsening this problem.

    There are only two solutions I can see to help alleviate/stop the mess.
    1. Introduce wheelie bins for this area, even half sized ones would help.
    2. Fines for improper disposal of rubbish. People need motivation to act responsibly.

  3. Paul June 7, 2011 at 9:55 am - Reply

    "Mr Qasim said his company makes students aware of waste collection days by putting notices inside their rented properties.

    He said the council must make students aware of their waste responsibilities at the start of each academic year."

    In all fairness to Cardiff Council (not something that's often said on this site) they do a good job with rubbish and recycling especially in student areas and they're putting on extra collections in a few weeks to meet the end of term.

    If Acon Estate agents are running the properties THEY need to take responsibly of talking to the students and if necessary either take from their bonds or kick them out. There are too many doggy landlords and estate agents in this city who make far too much money from run down properties that they dont' look after, just look at the gardens, fences and outside paintwork of many homes in Cathays and Roath.

  4. Becca June 7, 2011 at 10:33 am - Reply

    One problem at the start of the year was waste collection calendars being printed and issued with the wrong collection dates on for recycling. Also when rubbish is put out the night before as is suggested by Cardiff council as many people leave early the next day for work/university the rubbish is left all day at the kerbside giving birds and rodents the opportunity to attack as rubbish is often not collected until at least 5pm.
    So it’s not always the fault of students who are doing as they have been told.

  5. Shelley June 7, 2011 at 10:45 am - Reply

    It’s a shame that the uncaring, untidy attitude of some students has to give the collective group of us a bad name.
    I live on Llantrisant Street and we’re lucky to have wheelie bins so there really isn’t the same problem where we are.
    It’s upsetting that, no matter how many reminders, leaflets or even tutorials you give some students on when/how to put the rubbish out, they simply will forget or not bother to comply.
    The ‘punishments’ need to be more strict, perhaps.

  6. spudally June 7, 2011 at 10:47 am - Reply

    Cathays/Roath rubbish issues, its not hard to keep on top of your rubbish/recycling is it. Being a former student who has lived in Roath/Cathays since 2003 I have noticed the situation getting gradually worse, Rhymney Street we had major issues due to rubbish just being left out on the wrong days. Don’t want to isolate the blame on just students but worse issues also arise around end of June (moving out time). Educating needs to improve even if bin days are put on signs on the street, extreme but necessary.

  7. Merlin June 7, 2011 at 10:49 am - Reply

    First of all, it's called Mackintosh Place, not Street. I ought to know as my first house was there (next door to the Brtanys). The rubbish problem was starting to appear when we moved out 18 years ago but it's not as simple as your story makes it appear. A lot of rubbish, particularly food and associated waste, is dumped by people on their way home after a night out. They buy fast food from the many outlets on City and Albany Roads and throw away the containers and any remaining food on the street or into peoples' front gardens.
    Your photograph shows a mattress and other furniture in front of a house – that hasn't been thrown out by students vacating a house, it's the landlord clearing the house ready to install the next batch of cheap furniture for next years' students. It might not attract vermin but it adds to the general run-down appearance of the area which in turn encourages passers-by to drop their rubbish.
    Good luck to the residents in clearing up their area and I hope the council give them a lot of help and support.

    • Ed Walker June 7, 2011 at 11:04 am - Reply

      Merlin – you're absolutely right, it's Mackintosh Place and I've amended it in the story.

  8. James June 7, 2011 at 10:51 am - Reply

    A lot of these roads in question are ones in which tourists and visitors to Cardiff have to drive down to reach the city centre. Some of the student houses on main routes into Cardiff are an absolute mess and this is not always the fault of the students but is more than often just lazy landlords.

    What message do these houses give to visitors to Cardiff?

  9. Student1 June 7, 2011 at 11:28 am - Reply

    The problem isnt with students not putting rubbish out on the right day, its that the bins are not collected until 6/7pm at night so have been sat outside for the seagulls to attack and for the numerous number of students and people walking past to kick around all day.

  10. Matt Smith June 7, 2011 at 12:02 pm - Reply

    When I first moved to Cathays three years ago the rubbish situation was terrible, but since wheelie bins were introduced in streets with front gardens things have improved massively.

    The Council now needs to find a workable solution for the terraced streets as well where we unfortunately still have the same problem we used to have across the suburb.

  11. Twm June 7, 2011 at 8:17 pm - Reply

    Is the lady in the picture standing for, or has she ever stood for, elected office for the Conservative Party? There seems to be a large blow rosette attached to her left shoulder.

    • @NewsGuv June 8, 2011 at 11:13 am - Reply

      is a blow rosette some sort of prize?

  12. @brendanhughes64 June 8, 2011 at 3:25 pm - Reply

    Hey guys, we have had a lot of feedback on this story from all sides, so we are going to do a more detailed follow up, possibly for Friday's Echo.

    If you want to get your experiences and views across, feel free to give me a call on 02920 243641.


    • @xgfx June 8, 2011 at 4:07 pm - Reply

      Just to reiterate what I said above really. A combination of well enforced, regular fines for persistent mess makers, as well as wheelie bins. Although big wheelie bins may not be appropriate in these areas, so half size ones may be better suited.

      I would agree that the problems do not just stem from students and their landlords, although they certainly don't help matters when a street is already looking pretty unsightly due to Seagulls having a field day with bin bags.

  13. Turnitin June 8, 2011 at 3:57 pm - Reply

    As someone who has lived in Cathays as a student and not the main issues are:

    1. Collection days in student areas are sometimes not linked to kick out days for student houses. This has got better in recent years with extra collections but is still a problem.

    2. The binbags have to be left on the street and in my area of Cathays would often not be picked up until late afternoon. If you have work or uni you'll probably put them out the night before. This begs the question of why these areas do not have wheelie bins. Everywhere else I have lived in has had them even student areas in other cities so why do areas of Roath/Cathays not have them?

    3. Landlords who don't live in the city clearing the houses out after tenants moved out and just dumping the rubbish out not caring when it's going to get collected.

    Obviously there are students who don't think and allow rubbish and waste to pile up, but blaming the students is an easy out.

  14. Alan G June 8, 2011 at 9:01 pm - Reply

    Cardiff Council's policy of legalising rubbish on the streets (inside black bin liners) is ludicrous. This system has got to stop. It is also copied by the Vale of Glamorgan and others.
    When I came to South Wales I couldn't believe that this system of collection.
    It is benefitting only the council, by making it cheap to deal with refuse – ie, just hand out bags.
    Introduce communal bins with foot operated lids. This will stop the third world appearance of our streets. It is dirty, unhealthy, visually unacceptable, and a bonanza for vermin – rats, gulls – which are proliferating in the city.
    It is almost enough to make one want to leave and find somewhere to live which is civilised.
    We are the laughing stock of Europe.

  15. Merlin the Magician June 9, 2011 at 9:44 am - Reply

    This rubbish-litter problem is not confined to just Cathays , its prevalent throughout the city where schools are situated ….
    Surely these students from 5 to 20 odd ought to be taught to either take their rubbish home with them or use the many receptacles that are put there for their convenience and others….
    I live in an area that has 3 schools and two nursery's in a 1/2 square mile, and the constant mess is just unbelievable, you can also see parents setting the trend by depositing their litter onto the roads! So what chance does the younger element stand of being educated about the rubbish-litter that gets chucked on the roads too….
    They (the council introduced wardens to deal with this problem) but I bet just like the Traffic Wardens they are confined to the city center and the suburbs are again left to put up with the problems, its certainly the case here in the Bronx.(Tremorfa)
    I really think that a rate rebate ought to be reintroduced if the council fail to give equilibrium with regards a non service or failing to give a service where supposedly paying for……

  16. mark June 12, 2011 at 7:29 pm - Reply

    does any 1 know the answer to my qeustion ,,i have akwired another black wheely bin from my neuibour is this ok so i have 2 but i don t know if this is correct

    • Ed Walker June 12, 2011 at 10:51 pm - Reply

      Mark – not 100% sure, I believe you should only have one. Some of the bins are barcoded and so your neighbour would still be responsible for it. I would phone the Connect 2 Cardiff number at Cardiff council and check

  17. Roath Resident June 12, 2012 at 10:10 pm - Reply

    We have contacted Cardiff Council several times to ask for the rubbish problem in front of rental houses in the Roath area to be dealt with and we were told that we have to put up with it because they pay the rent and apparently are allowed to leave their rubbish where ever they like. This is a frustrating and unacceptable response from the Council and will force permanent residents to move out of the area.

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