An Elephant and Castle resident campaigning against the filthy state of his council block’s communal stairwell returned to Southwark Council this week for a number two “dirty protest”.
The News covered AJ Hilditch’s first demonstration in June, when he sat outside the council’s Tooley Street headquarters with toilet paper and a face mask. He returned this week to repeat the stunt, explaining that little had been done in the meantime to improve the cleanliness of Newman House – or “Pooman House” as he has taken to calling it.
The 37-year-old said: “It’s the smell of p**s that’s the worst, a concentrated morning p**s smell that just fills the flat. There is sh*t up the wall, blood up the wall – I’m not putting up with it anymore.”
AJ, who is trying to set up a dog-walking and dog day-care business from his flat, says that the mess is handicapping his attempts to get his company off the ground.
He said: “I’m trying to get off benefits but I can’t say I’d be too keen about leaving my dog with someone who lives in an apartment block with blood, sh*te and pee layered all over the entrance and up the walls. It will potentially finish my business before it’s started and cost the borough a couple of part time jobs to boot!”
He said that he wanted some real action from the council, not just empty gestures.
He said: “Councillor Livingstone came out with a cup of tea while I was protesting on Monday but I’m going to keep coming back until something is done. I’m at my wit’s end.”
Cllr Livingstone, Southwark Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, said “nobody should have to put up with” AJ’s situation.
He said: “I have spoken to Mr Hilditch and arranged to make a visit to Newman House this week, to try to find a suitable solution. Our cleaning teams respond swiftly to any reports of this sort, but I agree that prevention is better than cure.
“A security door could help and we had originally scheduled Newman House to have one fitted last year – but unfortunately residents voted against this in three separate ballots.
“Whilst we cannot go against residents’ wishes, if a majority now wants to have a door installed we will happily look into this, I am also looking into the ballot rules, to ensure we do what everyone would prefer.”