“Bin your rubbish or lose your shelter” is the warning from a local councillor regarding a controversial Clitheroe youth shelter.
Situated off Henthorn Road near the park, the problematic youth shelter has been a blight on that part of town for several years – leaving local residents feeling both angry and frustrated.
And the state of the shelter was so bad following the festive period that Coun. Mary Robinson, who is the Lib Dem councillor for Ribble Valley Borough Council’s Primrose ward, went beyond the call of duty clearing the shelter of litter and waste herself on New Year’s Day.
“This shelter has been abused for too long and if those using the youth shelter don’t start to clean up their rubbish they will see it pulled down,” said Coun. Robinson, who has been a town councillor for 22 years and a borough councillor for 20.
Armed with a dustpan and brush as well as carrier bags, a rubber glove clad Coun. Robinson cleared away several bags of general waste which included bottles, cans and at least a dozen plastic pouches often used for drugs such as cannabis.
“I have been in touch with RVBC and asked that signs are erected as soon as possible saying that youths must clear their rubbish up or face losing this shelter,” said Coun. Robinson. “This really is their last chance.”
The job of clearing rubbish and waste left in and around the youth shelter falls on RVBC’s street cleansing team and the town’s lengthsman who share the task. There is a long history of anti-social behaviour in and around the youth shelter with calls made last January for the shelter, which was installed some years ago as part of Lancashire County Council’s youth work programme, to be pulled down.
It was subsequently given a six month reprieve by councillors who agreed action would be taken unless the situation improved. At a subsequent meeting of RVBC’s community services committee in May officers recommended removal of the shelter. However, councillors were concerned that if this happened the problem would just move somewhere else. Instead it was agreed that signs should be erected instructing those who use the shelter to keep it clean.
Coun. Robinson, who is pushing for these signs to be erected as soon as possible, said she does not want to tarnish all young people with the same brush. She added that a small minority of young people are ruining things for the majority.
Coun. Robinson went on to say that the borough council’s street cleansing team is already stretched to its limits and that a proposed reduction in hours at the town’s household waste recycling centre would only make the situation worse.