Anger over bus station litterbugs

Coun Eileen Blakey at Alnwick Bus Station.
Coun Eileen Blakey at Alnwick Bus Station.

LITTER-LOUTS are leaving a key tourist gateway strewn with rubbish, as fast as it is being cleaned up.

Despite staff sweeping the concourse of Alnwick Bus Station every morning, by mid-afternoon it is plagued by empty drinks cans, crisp packets and sweet papers, suggesting those responsible are young people, including children from the town’s schools who pass through it in their hundreds twice a day.

Spring clean, Carlo Biagioni and David Taylor

Spring clean, Carlo Biagioni and David Taylor

Following a complaint from a member of the public on Monday, the Gazette immediately visited the station – which is owned by the neighbouring Morrisons supermarket and operated by Arriva – to see the extent of the littering first-hand.

It was in a state that can only be described as a disgrace to this proud, historic town.

At the foot and to the side of every bench was a pile of rubbish, haphazardly cast aside without a care, while the walkway was little better. We returned on Tuesday afternoon, in the company of town councillor and former mayor Eileen Blakey, to find a similar scene.

She says one glaringly obvious factor contributing to the problem is the absence of litter bins on the concourse.

“Until something is done to improve the aesthetics of the bus station and its basic facilities, people won’t respect it,” said Coun Blakey. “This is the situation twice a day, after the schools have passed through. It’s clear there is a lack of pride here. What really annoys me is that litter is often left lying within yards of the bin at Morrisons. There really is no excuse.”

Nigel Featham, managing director for Arriva North East, said: “We currently employ cleaning staff who sweep the concourse each morning and we work with the council to have the station cleaned at weekends. Unfortunately, due to the bins being repeatedly damaged, we had to remove them from the concourse. The bin at the side of the office remains in place.”

The complaints come as a team of volunteers drawn from the local business community prepare for their second weekend of tidying Alnwick’s streets.

Organiser Carlo Biagioni, chairman of Alnwick Chamber of Trade (Act), said: “We were out last Sunday and cleaned an area from the Bondgate Tower to Roxbro Place and the Greenwell Lane car park.

“We must have collected a dozen bags of litter. This weekend, we’re doing the top part of the town, around the bus station and Dispensary Street.”

Anyone interested in helping with the Act clean-up can meet outside Carlo’s on Market Street at 11am on Sunday.