A row has erupted over piles of rubbish building up outside Peckham Rye Station after Southwark Council accused Network Rail of abdicating its cleaning responsibilities.
One resident told the News the mess was getting worse and made the station and passageways nearby look like an “unsupervised municipal refuse tip”.
“Apart from the environment dangers and health risk to local residents it is very unpleasant seeing so many piles rubbish in the front of the station when we have need to use the station,” he said.
Southwark Council says it has had to step in and clean up the mess itself despite the fact the land belongs to Network Rail.
Councillor Richard Livingstone, Tooley Street’s cabinet member for the environment, said: “The area around Peckham Rye Station is owned by Network Rail. As such it is their responsibility.
“However, given the state the area had reached last week, our cleaning team has cleared it and removed the overflowing trade refuse bin.
“We are trying to work with Network Rail and encourage them to organise adequate cleaning arrangements. In the meantime, we have installed an extra litter bin to try and help.
“We will also provide the necessary cleaning service for the area to maintain reasonable cleanliness, whilst also making further efforts to encourage Network Rail to adequately take on their responsibilities.”
Peckham Rye, a particular rubbish hotspot, now has timed waste collections in an effort to keep the streets clear.
In a crack-down, the council has issued 505 fly-tipping fines and prosecuted six businesses for illegally dumping rubbish in the last year.
A Network Rail spokesperson told the News although the land is owned by the train company, it is managed by “another operator” but could not confirm which is responsible for keeping it clean, why it has failed to do so, and what action Network Rail is taking.
In an email seen by the News, another exasperated councillor even urged a frustrated resident to file a complaint with the Magistrates’ Court – a process that the council is legally is unable to do itself.
Cllr Livingstone added: “We have a permanent presence throughout all main high street areas, where our staff are constantly litter picking, emptying litter bins and sweeping throughout the day.
“There are also bulk and bag waste collection vehicles, which pass through the high streets at least twice a day.”