Residents who live near an alleyway which was targeted by arsonists and fly-tippers - leaving them feeling unsafe - have protested to get the area cleaned up.
More than 40 residents from Victoria Street and Moor Street in Mansfield who protested on the streets have urged Mansfield District Council to “stop fining innocent people” and to “bring the criminals to justice”.
This protest comes after your Chad reported that fly-tipped furniture and rubbish in the alleyway adjoining the two streets was set on fire.
Janice Melbourne, aged 75, has lived on Victoria Street for more than 30 years and came to your Chad after she received a letter from the district council telling her that if the fly-tip was not cleaned up then she and other residents would be footing a bill to clear it.
Mrs Melbourne who took part in the protest on Saturday, January 26, said the residents are feeling “fed up”.
She said: “It isn’t safe to go down the alleyway anymore and there are rats in it and people setting things on fire - the council are so indifferent - they don’t care.
“Next door have cat which has brought back rats since the fly-tipping happened.
“We feel like they are using us as cash cows - other people put out rubbish and the council charges us.We have decided to not pay the council when they move the rubbish they are going to have to keep threatening us.”
The council sent a letter to residents telling them to clean up the rubbish or pay for its removal on Saturday, January 19.
Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue say they believe that a fire on January 24 at 5,30am was started deliberately.
A spokesman for fire service said: “No one was injured but there was approximately 6-10 square metres of fire damage. The fire is believed to have been set deliberately.”
When asked about the fly-tipping the council said the alleyway was private land and that they had “no duty to remove fly-tipping there”.
The council also said that it will look at installing CCTV cameras to cover the alleyway.
Mrs Melbourne said that CCTV is the only way to stop fly-tippers, she said: “If CCTV is not put up no one will ever get caught.”
Martyn Saxton, Director of Place and Wellbeing, said: “We realise that the recurrent situation regarding this alleyway is difficult, and for residents it may seem unfair that they are having to possibly pay for the cost of removing rubbish that is not theirs.
“The council is trying find a pragmatic solution to removing this rubbish, which is clearly an environmental health hazard. The problem is that it is on land that the council does not own and therefore has no duty towards in terms of clearing rubbish. The alley is jointly the responsibility of the properties adjoining it.
“If anyone knows who dumped this rubbish, we would encourage them to get in touch. In the absence of any evidence of who dumped the rubbish, the only course of action is for the residents to collectively arrange for it to be cleared and to share that cost. If it is not removed, we may have to clear it ourselves as part of our environmental health responsibilities and then charge the cost of that to the residents.
“We don’t want to take enforcement action and we certainly don’t do it to make money. We would much rather the residents came together and found their own solution and we will do what we can to facilitate that. We are also looking into the possibility of installing CCTV to act as a deterrent to would-be fly-tippers in the future.”