Rats spotted around overflowing bins in Ely
- Credit: Supplied by Jon Evans
Overflowing bins at Ely Leisure Village are attracting rats, it has been claimed.
They have been seen around the leisure park and the Ely Outdoor Sports Association says it is trying its best to prevent an infestation at the nearby rugby pitches.
While the issue with the bins has been ongoing for weeks, for Ely residents it reached a tipping point over the bank holiday weekend.
Jon Evans, director of Ely Outdoor Sports Association, said: “The bins are always full and overflowing at Ely Leisure Village. There’s rubbish all around the place and it’s now attracting rodents.
“One day, we had rubbish blown across the rugby pitches where the kids were playing and there were rats everywhere.
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“We’ve had to invest in pest control around our building, an added expense which is particularly tough when you’ve been shut for the last 13 months over the pandemic and had no income.”
Anna Bailey, leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “What we do with our rubbish is a collective responsibility for us all.
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“I do wish the site would step up a bit and be more responsible for the situation. We are doing our bit at the district council level to try and influence a solution but I’m sorry to say they’re letting everyone down.
“Particularly those people who work hard to do all this litter picking and run community groups which make Ely and the surrounding area a beautiful place for us all to live in.”
Mr Evans added: “By 3pm on Good Friday the entire area was a complete mess and I thought: ‘It’s going to be like this for the next three days...’
“I spoke to the managers at McDonalds and KFC. McDonalds said they’d send someone out to collect the rubbish straight away whereas KFC didn’t want to know, they said it wasn’t their responsibility.”
Many customers were trying to do their bit by placing rubbish next to bins, but the wind was blowing it across the car parks and into the hedges.
A KFC spokesperson explained: “We have strict team rotas for litter picking around all of our restaurants to make sure that the immediate area is kept clean and tidy, but we have less control over the situation when food is taken away.
“We know we all have a role to play and that’s why we also always encourage our guests to do the right thing by taking their rubbish home or putting it in a bin.”
When the recently formed Ely Litter Pickers group heard about the amount of litter at Ely Leisure Village, members went to the site on the afternoons of Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday.
Those that joined the group did do to help keep the public areas around where they live and across the city neat and tidy; it maybe they feel their role is not necessarily to do the job of a privately managed company.
Brian Calvert, who sits on the group’s committee, said: “The bins are simply not being emptied regularly enough. The management agents [of Ely Leisure Village] and their residents need to take responsibility.
“We get a lot of support from East Cambridgeshire District Council, and I think they’ve been getting extra bins for the site even though it’s not their responsibility.”
He added: “I have to also commend McDonalds, who have been very supportive of us.
“When we first launched in February, it provided us with litter picking sticks and have donated £500 worth of equipment.
“It also said staff will also be encouraged to volunteer with us on litter picks, which is encouraging to hear.”
Phoenix Life, the owners of Ely Leisure Village, said: “We were disappointed to learn of the situation at Ely Leisure Village.
"We contacted the site manager who have put in place an urgent action plan with the waste management company to ensure rubbish is collected regularly, with the possibility of installing additional rubbish bins on site if necessary.
"At present the site is clear and we have asked for this situation to be monitored closely going forward.”
JLL, the site’s management company, has been approached for comment.
Ground Control, which is contracted to empty the bins, says it is investigating the situation with its teams.
The Hive leisure complex on the same site re-opens on April 12.
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