Two Hawick councillors are urging Scottish Borders Council to tackle the “disgraceful” amount of rubbish dumped outside flats in Beattie Court.
“I’ve never seen anything like this in my eight years as a councillor,” Stuart Marshall told the Hawick News, surveying the garden of rotting refuse, broken glass bottles and furniture. “It’s an absolute disgrace. The streets are strewn with soiled nappies – it needs decontamination. There are six wheelie bins here and every one is empty.”
Watson McAteer said: “This is as bad as I’ve seen in third world countries. It’s a total disgrace. It’s been an ongoing issue but it’s getting worse. It’s a small minority causing this, among people taking real care of their properties.”
Mr Marshall added: “It’s getting seriously out of hand. The residents are sick fed up. It’s not just impacting on the neighbours but on the neighbourhood in general.”
One resident told us: “It’s like people in the block are using this area as a rubbish bin. It’s a shame when you’re trying to keep your property clean.
“This is the worst I’ve seen it. In the last year this has got really bad. It is a hazard for my two boys: I’d hate to think of them playing in here. Think of the rats and mice.
“They’re all rented in this block: nobody living here owns their flat. People just can’t be bothered and nobody wants to take responsibility. It’s got so bad now, people will say: ‘where do you start?’.
“We’ve got a huge issue here. We need someone to clean this up. The residents won’t do it, the landlords won’t do it – are we just going to live here until this accumulates? Nobody’s dealing with this. Somebody needs to take action and do something.”
Mr McAteer assured residents: “We’ve both asked Scottish Borders Council to take strong action, within the powers they have, to make sure this place is cleaned up.”
Mr Marshall added: “The solution is for the council to come down hard on the landlords.” Both will meet SBC’s enforcement officer for the private rented sector, Douglas Whitson, today (Friday).
An SBC employee was seen clearing up litter on Monday, and a council audit to identify the landlords is under way.
Hawick’s BI Group, which lets many of the flats in the area, has agreed to work closely with Councillors Marshall and McAteer to get to the bottom of the problem.