118 bags and two skips of fly-tipped waste have been cleared from a private site in High Wycombe by a county councillor using her allowances.
Once the waste was cleared shrubs were planted on the land below advertising hoardings on the A40 opposite Wycombe Marsh Retail Park.
The work, which cost £960, was funded Cllr Julia Wassell’s County Council Community Leaders Fund and expenses. The original idea for the scheme came from the Neighbourhood Action Group.
‘The site had been contaminated for over three decades by fly-tipping and littering,‘ said Cllr Wassell. ‘In places, the rubbish and fly-tipping was knee deep. This was largely metal and plastic but included; car tyres, paint pots, barbed wire, drink cans and bottles, plastic sheeting, prams, metal pipes and spikes, car parts, nuts and bolts, cigarette lighters.‘
In May 2015 Cllr Wassell, the County Council’s local constituency member, approached JCDecaux, who operate the advertising hoardings above the land, with a sketch plan with a view to a peppercorn lease to renovate the area.
In December 2015 a two year lease was signed at a cost of £500 per annum. £460 was spent planting shrubs including a mahonia, forsythia, magnolia, holly, a fir and red robin at the site.
The clearance project started in January 2016 and was completed in July 2016. However the site is not completely cleared and volunteers currently work there for 30 minutes per day.
Cllr Wassell has been helped by Echo Leonard, a student from Wycombe and Amersham College. Marsh & Micklefield Big Local also gave £500 towards the clear-up.
In October 2016 phase 2 of the project will see bulbs and winter flowers will be planted at the site. Passers-by have donated £25 towards baskets and there will be further rubbish removal east to west. Sponsorship is currently being sought to investigate soil contamination.
Cllr Warren Whyte, Cabinet Member for Planning and Environment at the County Council, said: ‘The County Council is fighting a constant battle to keep Buckinghamshire clear of fly-tipping and give residents the environment they deserve. Cllr Wassell’s use of her County Council allowances to fund this clearance scheme is a good example of how we can help local communities in ways that are not usually thought of being within this Council’s remits.‘