Friday, 27 January 2012


Homes with damp, blocked fire escapes, and even a motorbike in the kitchen of a food premise are some of the issues uncovered in the latest Operation Cleansweep in Cliftonville and Margate.

The council run operation visited over 150 properties in the two areas, staffed by officers from the council’s Enforcement Services and Planning teams, as well as Kent Police, Kent Fire and Rescue Service, Pipeline Youth volunteers, Community Payback, and wardens from Kent County Council.

Six properties were identified by the team that had poor housing conditions. One property had had lead stolen from the roof, meaning that rainwater was then pouring into people’s rooms. Buckets were found to try and gather up the water when it rains. Other issues discovered included damp, inadequate heating and broken front doors, meaning that anyone could get into the property. Further investigations are now underway by the council's private sector housing team to ensure that these conditions are improved.

Three suspected unauthorised houses in multiple occupation were discovered in Cliftonville. Enforcement action against both properties will now be started by the council as a result of the visit. Three properties were also found that had inadequate fire access. In the worst case, the residents couldn’t get out of their front door in the event of a fire, as there was no interior handle on it. Instead, they had to go back upstairs and press a button to get out.

One food premise was also found to have problems with its fire escape, as there was a delivery motorbike housed in a walk-in cupboard in the premises’ kitchen. This was blocking part of the fire escape. A follow-up inspection will now be carried out to ensure that this has been removed. A potentially unsafe structure was also found, with a dangerous chimney stack. The details have been passed on to the council’s building control team to investigate further.

Notices were handed out to the freeholders of seven properties, who had black bags and household rubbish, such as sofas and mattresses, in their garden. If they fail to act and remove the rubbish, they face the prospect of legal action. Two side alleyways were cleared of rubbish, with investigations continuing to try and find out who dumped them there. Three people were served with warning notices about dumping rubbish and, if they do it again, they will face an immediate fine. 

Volunteers from Pipeline cleared five alleyways of rubbish, while Community Payback teams litter picked the whole of the seafront along Cliftonville.

Cllr. Clive Hart, Cabinet Member for Corporate and Regulatory Services, said: “It’s always encouraging to hear the excellent results that each Cleansweep gets. I know Margate and Cliftonville and the issues they face only too well and these operations help to tackle some of the bigger problems that exist there. The key one has to be trying to improve the living conditions in some of the homes in this area. Stories of damp, water coming through the ceilings of properties and broken front doors are something that shouldn’t exist in today’s society, but sadly they do. Anything our officers can do to help tackle these problems that blight people’s lives through Operation Cleansweep and their everyday work is extremely welcome.”

For more information or to report any concerns, please call 01843 577065.

1 comment:

  1. “One food premise was also found to have problems with its fire escape” now there’s a thought.


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