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Litter City: Boss Of MMU Calls For Clean Up

Jonathan Schofield attends a meeting that reminds macro ideas need micro managing

Written by . Published on June 11th 2014.


Litter City: Boss Of MMU Calls For Clean Up
 

“THERE are three concerns from overseas students, the weather and security are two,” says Professor John Brooks, Vice-Chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University. "Security is an issue in university cities everywhere. The weather is the weather so we give overseas students from the Middle East and some Far East countries an umbrella when they enrol.

"The third concern is about cleanliness. Our overseas students say, “How can you live in such a dirty city?””

It would be better to cut services elsewhere and make sure the city centre is immaculate rather than have the situation we have now. We need the city centre to be representative of us all.

Professor John Brooks wasn’t afraid to apply reality to the festival of happy Manc stats that usually define these City Conversations by CityCo.

Professor John Brooks gives some statsProfessor John Brooks gives some stats

The theme of the meeting was ‘Manchester as an International City’.

All the speakers, Elizabeth Faulkner of Manchester Central, Jim Forrester of Manchester International Festival and Baron Frankal, Director of Strategy at Manchester Airports Group, made valid points about the need for constant and intelligent promotion of Manchester in key markets across the world.  

Frankal’s notion that we should be absolutely open about welcoming overseas people to the city, that we should become known as the city that says ‘come and join us’ in an age of immigrant paranoia in the UK and European politics, was excellently made.

As Professor John Brooks also pointed out, the restrictions placed on entry to overseas students from developing countries have been purely negative for academic institutions.

“UK’s reputation has been damaged by recent immigration rules - student numbers from overseas may drop 20%," he said. "All we’ve done is chase them to competitor cities in other countries. European universities now lecture in English to attract students.”

One discussion point was ‘global and local’, this is where the long-running endless chat/row/debate over cleanliness on Manchester’s streets hit home.

Professor John Brooks said: “We are very good at macro thinking in Manchester but frequently fail at the micro level.

"Along Oxford Road the plans for Corridor are striking, original and exciting, the experience at ground level, along Corridor and in the city centre, often doesn’t match up. Services need to think in a joined-up way - cleaning, street-trading issues, transport. The experience should match the strategy.”

A couple of weeks ago I took overseas guests on a Sunday morning tour.

They were staying close to Piccadilly Station and as we walked through Canal Street and then Piccadilly Gardens the mess and filth from the previous night was embarrassing. I scurried to the west side of the city centre where, for some reason, Albert Square always seems neater and at least private landowners such as Allied London in Spinningfields keep things ship shape.

It was worse for a guiding colleague taking Germans around a month or so ago on a Sunday morning. She took the photo below.

Piccadilly recently

Piccadilly recently

It’s not just Sundays either.

This happens again and again.

We are now getting bigger bins that can fit more rubbish in – as reported here - but that isn’t the issue. The issue is having people out at the right time to clean the streets so that guests, potential investors, conference delegates, people visiting our superb roster of city events don’t go away thinking Manchester is dirty.

When people have guests over to their house they make sure it’s tidy and the flowers are fresh. Manchester city centre is failing in this.

Most of our city centre green spaces such as St John’s Gardens have also had a poor start to summer. For weeks the grass was uncut, the flower beds uncared for. Idiocy.

The council have recently been conducting stunts in which they show how much street litter they have to pick up in a month. So what? Who cares? Do your job. Do whatever it takes to keep the city centre, the economic engine of the region, clean and clear. It’s your statutory duty.

Yes, yes, people throw litter and you're making a point

Yes, yes, people throw litter and you're making a point, funnily enough we thought there'd be more

I’ve also had council officials look sad and say we have to educate people not to throw litter in the first place. “Why do they do it?” they say helplessly and throw up their arms with tears in their eyes.

Why indeed?

But re-education might take a while and at the moment, right now, we have a problem so solve it.

Yet, there's another soft, sad clamour I hear.

It goes like this.

In this climate of cuts and food banks aren't litter issues just trivial rubbish (forgive the pun)?

No, they're not.

To make the city centre presentable, to make it shine and strut, is indispensable in playing 2014's international Game of Cities, one of the most competitive areas of international life.

Whether we like it or not, if we look shoddy in the basics, the cleanliness of the city, then no matter how many gleaming museums, shops, bars and restaurants we have, people (because people are people) will always mention the litter. Negatives tend to be voiced first.

More than that, it seems such an easy problem to solve. Just re-arrange rotas and get more people out cleaning the streets.

It would be better to cut services elsewhere and make sure the city centre is immaculate rather than have the situation we have now. We need the city centre to be representative of us all.

In the Game of Cities we can't afford for people to pick their way across a filthy Piccadilly Gardens on a weekend just because the council isn't doing their job properly.

Maybe somebody needs to be moved upstairs or sacked over the frankly horribly, dirty nature of weekend mornings in the city centre (and teatime as well). If there are union issues then they need to be negotiated away.

A good sacking might concentrate people's minds.

"To be world class you have to pay attention to the detail," said my new Manc hero, Professor John Brooks.

Exactly. 

You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter @JonathSchofield or connect via Google+ 

Litter's poppin up everywhere

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110 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Poster BoyJune 11th 2014.

You know it, they know it, we all know it. Everyone it seems, apart from the city's elected representatives and their employees. Low priority. No priority.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 11th 2014.

Howard Bernstein doesn't know it. For this to change we really really need a Chief Executive who cares about this issue. Someone who doesn't care doesn't notice. It's really like a football team with a bad manager or a restaurant with dirty toilets and food left on the floor, it's the fault of the manager, in this case Howard Bernstein. It's clear to everyone else though, it's enough bins, it's litter picking in the evenings and at weekends, it's fines, it's getting businesses to put a litter bin outside the front door like the Arndale or the Academy, and finally it's someone checking i.e. that bins are emptied and that places are clean.

AnonymousJune 11th 2014.

Hear hear. This article is spot on. I am so ASHAMED of Manchester at the moment. When family come to visit me they remark how dirty and disgusting the city is. Council leaders go on about wanting to attract investment to the city but who in their right mind would pour money into a cesspit? I've spoken to my local councillors about this on a number of times and they look sad and say there isn't any money and blame people for throwing litter. It's funny however that the council seems to be able to find millions for other projects but can't afford a few hundred thousand to pay for a team of litter pickers. I feel we are just being taken advantage of because they know that we all vote Labour and they can do what they want without reprisals. The new bins are great but we need REGULAR litter patrols 24 hours a day like in every other city in the UK. I honestly cannot remember the last time I saw a litter picker in Manchester. Please sort it out before residents and businesses up sticks and move to a city which doesn't look like a dump - it's killing the city.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 14th 2014.

Here here. The council keep passing it back to residents. They just don't seem to get it. Extra money spent on cleaners would be paid back tenfold by extra tourism and investment.

Alan CollinsJune 11th 2014.

My number one problem with Manchester. Have lived elsewhere both in the UK and abroad but never anywhere so consistently filthy and badly kept. It really ruins an otherwise great city. Since people here are apparently unable to stop doing it, the only solution is to employ more people to pick it up and improve the cleaning services.

Simon TurnerJune 11th 2014.

Is dropping litter not punishable by a fine? Enforce this!

2 Responses: Reply To This...
DanJune 11th 2014.

This happens in a number of other cities, but unfortunately it doesn't seem to work. They give a cretin a badge and a bit of power, and they choose exercise the power on people who have a receipt blow out of their wallet and onto the street... and not gangs of men sitting on benches overtly leaving beer cans all around them.

AnonymousJune 14th 2014.

That's fine but we cannot rely on this alone. When there are no cleaners around, litter gets blown from bins onto the floor. The basic problem is lack of council cleaners

AnonymousJune 11th 2014.

Remember how clean and bright and colourful town was during the Commonwealth Games? There's no reason those standards should slip from that in my opinion. Are we not worthy of living in a place that clean? Or are those levels of cleanliness just for when the Queen pops up? I doubt she ventured to Piccadilly Gardens or strolled down Market St. Shame it was immaculate. The bigger bins are great for people who want to put litter in bins, but what about those people who no matter how big or how close the nearest bin is, always drop litter on the floor? We need people issuing fines and watch the amount of litter on the floor get less as the months pass. The amount of rubbish floating about in the Quays is a real let down too. Loads of new buildings, new paving and street furniture and a big floating rubbish tip at the waters edge. It lets the place down.

Alex24June 11th 2014.

A comment from someone on the council would be nice. I'm sure they'll artfully ride out the storm like they did when everyone was complaining about Picc Gardens a month ago and then proceeded to do nothing apart from install a hideous playground. Regardless of whether you support Labour or The Conservatives, Manchester's lack of political opposition or any independent and politically diverse local media breeds complacency at best and arrogance at worst. In any normal city, a waste of funds like Library Walk at a time of squeezed budgets would have seen heads roll and power relinquished. Not here.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 14th 2014.

Yes, no money to clean the streets but millions to spend on something no one wants

AnonymousJune 11th 2014.

Dropping litter is an offence isn't it? Put some wardens on the streets and give them a mandate to issue on the spot fines, photo the culprits and get the media to publish. It may help.

Danielle BellJune 11th 2014.

I am a proud Mancunian and have lived in Manchester most of my life. We have just moved into an apartment in the city and are loving being here. The rubbish / litter is the BIG let down and spoils an otherwise beautiful, interesting and exciting city. PLEASE do something about it!

AnonymousJune 11th 2014.

Would anyone want to sit at a restaurant table (or any table) which was covered by a grubby, dirty tablecloth? Most people wouldn't - even if the food was really good. Well, Manchester is that dirty tablecloth! I love the city but more often than not walking around the streets is like walking through a refuse tip. This is a massive off-putting and revolting fault - not a detail - and its got to be sorted as a civic priority.

AnonJune 11th 2014.

There really is no excuse for litter not being collected. How many people in the Manchester area are handed down community orders by magistrates? Why not use them to collect the litter? And yes there may well be paperwork involved, H&S, security considerations, but it is up to the local authorities to make it happen. If they don't then time to get some people in who will, starting at the top...

high-spinJune 11th 2014.

Why spend money on wardens when clearly the issue is that the rubbish isn't cleared or collected frequently enough, nor on a timely basis leaving the city center looking a tip. The article is spot on. BTW, have you ever challenged a litter bug, not usually recommended ... Now when do we start educating the smokers?

AnonymousJune 11th 2014.

Money could easily be diverted from the corporate leaches employed by Manchester City Council, many of whom are not from these parts.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 11th 2014.

didn't one came up with "quirky modern"?, I forget, anyway at least the Business Improvement District has sent out ambassadors to apoligise to people who come here for the mess. They could have put out extra litter pickers with the money of their members. I guess it's below them.

AnonymousJune 12th 2014.

The BID has a remit to deliver event and marketing. It's not an operational BID.

AnonymousJune 14th 2014.

the best marketing would be clean streets

AnonymousJune 11th 2014.

Why do we have to pay? every Saturday and Sunday morning get community service to pick up the litter and clean the streets !!!

MarkkennedyJune 11th 2014.

The rest of manchester is just catching up with oldham st...

crespoJune 11th 2014.

I absolutely agree with these comments. I have lived in Manchester now for 10 years and for the first time I am beginning to think about moving away and one of the main reasons is the litter. I've always been astounded by just how well Manchester hosts major events and comments above, such as the show provided for the Commonwealth games I echo, but the bi-annual MIF also is a great advertisement for what manchester can deliver to not just the locals. Whys is it then that it can get dressed up once in a "blue moon" but consistently let itself down. As a resident in Fallowfield, the litter issue is even worse methinks and I have written numerous times to Manchester City Council to have little response for local litter issues. It can be changed and as people have mentioned, for not a great deal more public funding. The New York metro system had a terrible history of neglect and this only makes people feel more inclined to add to the misery. They changed this with greater fee collection, more police/authority presence and now it is something altogether different. It won't change overnight, but with the current leadership decisions for the city not taking an interest then how can this problem change. The immediate benefits of tackling litter are obvious and the long-term benefits will be to see greater investment regionally, nationally and internationally. Without this, then where does manchester go for the next generation?

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 12th 2014.

Good point about Fallowfield - It is amazing the difference in the Rubbish levels when the Students are away, Summer in Fallowfield is very clean!

AnonymousJune 11th 2014.

Maybe we should empty it all on Dale Street, and watch how quickly it gets removed....

DanJune 11th 2014.

I live in the city, just off of Oldham St, and the litter is terrible- and not just on a Saturday/Sunday morning (although it's at its worst then). In particular, walking our dog on the streets is like running a gauntlet with the amount of glass that covers the streets. As others have expressed, it's highly embarrassing when we're showing visitors from overseas around the city. As one of my friends put it " Manchester is a fantastic city, it just needs a good wipe! "

LesleyJune 11th 2014.

The city is filthy. Why? It doesn't need to be and shouldn't be. Liverpool is so much cleaner. How do they manage it?

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Mark FullerJune 12th 2014.

You are quite right Leslie, Liverpool is a much cleaner city than Manchester. But it wasn't always the case. Around a decade ago, American author Bill Bryson wrote that his visit to Liverpool coincided with a "festival of litter". It really was appalling back then-worse even, than Manchester today. But this depressive phase was a blip, Liverpudlians are fiercely proud of their city and have a much stronger identity than Mancunians. A proud people will not trash their own environment. Architecturally, Liverpool is a more beautiful and dramatic city: this also impacts on how people behave. Finally, although Liverpool is a Labour city, the Liberals had control of the council for long periods until very recently. Liverpudlians will vote Labour out at council level ,if they are deemed incompetent. Mancunians need to do the same.

SAZKJune 12th 2014.

Mark you bring up such an important point. Fiercely proud is definitely the first thing I'd use to describe Liverpudlians - they won't hear a bad word about Liverpool and they'll defend it to the end, even if they're wrong. And in a way I think that's really kind of great! I live Manchester but do I feel proud of it as a city? Not really. I've lived in Liverpool and when I was there I felt welcomed and proud to live there

SAZKJune 12th 2014.

Also re: the litter situation in Liverpool at its worst - yes, I remember that, it was truly dire. If they turned it around surely Manchester can too

AnonymousJune 11th 2014.

Who is the lead Councillor for environment at MCC? Get an interview with him. I thought the prof's point about MCC being good at the macro strategic stuff but not so good at the day to day stuff interesting and seems to ring true.

AnonymousJune 11th 2014.

Looks like there are things afoot - is it good enough? www.manchester.gov.uk/cleancity…

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 11th 2014.

do you think the money from the Airport will be spent sensibly? really? The new bins look cheap like they'll fall apart in 6 months. next they'll be ordering love Manchester hate litter stickers or some daft and pointless poster campaign... anything except for doing the job that is needed. They are actually asking for ideas, it's just unbelievably stupid. Here's an idea:- empty bins, litter pick in evening, weekend and early morning, replace damaged bins, and power wash stained areas. get someone to check.

AnonymousJune 11th 2014.

I think that's because this money is for one off capital projects and not have any on-going running costs. Budget cuts to services probably mean these could not be funded in the long run.

Mum And Dad XJune 11th 2014.

Just had a look at this, a pretty smug piece of condescending time wasting inviting us to come up with ideas. The Town Hall knows what needs doing and NOW not in two or three years time after endless meetings, Oh and of course lets call in a consultant who can then explain it to the long suffering rate payers. Get on with it, put a person in charge who will change the rotas to dawn and dusk as they do in other cities and towns. The filthy litter is overwhelming our vibrant City, forget about trying to shame people into not dropping in the first place you will not win the battle.

rinkydinkJune 11th 2014.

I love how this is written! Spot on... The council showing how much litter it picks up to me is a symptom of having people like Pat Carnage at the helm. Get some modern thinking people with big ideas instead of small-town embarrassing clowns

AnonymousJune 11th 2014.

Thanks for this JS. Spot on. The cleaner the city the more people come to shop, eat and invest meaning more money to the local economy. Bigger picture and all that. Funny how the city was spotless for the last Tory conference at Central.

Mark JaggerJune 12th 2014.

Come to Bolton and watch a parking attendant put a ticket to the screen of the only car in the street,whilst stood knee deep in litter.That is depressing.Wake up city council and stop endorsing reasons for visitors to shy away.

Hero
anonJune 12th 2014.

I agree - it's embarrassing. I sat outside four or five places in and around Covent Garden at the weekend and the streets were spotless. If London can manage it, why can't Manchester? People need to take more pride in their surroundings. If you're not two and unaware of the consequences you shouldn't be dropping litter.

AnonymousJune 12th 2014.

There were no meetings about the glass corridor that's blocked Library Walk, so obviously the council can do things quickly if it wants and, the millions spent on that glass corridor could have been spent more wisely by countering litter on the streets of the city.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
TomJune 12th 2014.

Erm... not really true - Library Walk went through the planning process, with decision made at planning committee meeting, same as any other development. Whether the outcome of the process was subverted by the will of the council leadership is another question.

AnonymousJune 12th 2014.

As part of that planning process and wonderful very expensive decision made by those few people, have they now renamed Library Walk 'Library Cul De Sac'?

TomJune 12th 2014.

No.

AnonymousJune 13th 2014.

Well it's not a 'Walk' any more.

Peter CastreeJune 12th 2014.

I'm afraid we won't see the necessary action from a council who think they deserve congratulations for doing no more than arranging the elementary power washing of a concrete wall ! The people in charge of this city, despite their constant bleating about 'world class', just don't see the city from a visitor's viewpoint, presumably because they never see any world class cities themselves or, if they do, their eyes are closed ! If they did, they would realise how poorly we compare in the simplest respects. It's a matter of pride and determination, not propaganda and self-delusion.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 12th 2014.

Agree, agree, agree. WISH EVERYONE WOULD STOP JUST VOTING FOR LABOUR... we need some other folk in the town hall to start challenging this filthy status quo.

AnonymousJune 12th 2014.

We need a massive shake up in Manchester. The powers at be know they are in jobs for life. The I've always voted Labour and I always will because my dad did, and his dad did attitude is what makes the people in charge do as they want as they know they can get away with it. As a previous poster said they band the words world class about an awful lot but in reality there's not many world class things we have at present. When you look at how dirty the city centre is its not world class in that respect. Is Piccadilly Gardens world class? I don't imagine Barcelona/Paris/Milan are jealous of it and hold it up as a great European or world class square? When you compare the Metro to the underground in London/Munich/Rome/Berlin its a very very poor relation and nowhere near as frequent or reliable. You don't have to end your night early to catch the last journey home in those cities do you? We should be demanding better but we just accept what we are told. Aren't the constant litter strewn streets, the debacle with Piccadilly Gardens, the joke that is Library Walk and the numerous ugly and unimaginative buildings popping up all over the place enough to urge people to give someone else a go and see if things improve?

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 12th 2014.

At the moment, the Tube shuts around half midnight, so in that respect it's no better than our trams.

AnonymousJune 14th 2014.

Err...the last tram home on a Sunday night leaves the city centre between 10:30 and 11pm, so it's no where near as good. I agree with what everyone has said here. We need a new campaign: GET LABOUR OUT OF MANCHESTER

AnonymousJune 12th 2014.

Actually in London until very recently you did have to leave before 1am. or get a cab. There are all night buses which have or will be withdrawn in Manchester The article talked specifically about weekend mornings. Maybe the night business should pay for the mess their patrons leave. (of all sorts)

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 12th 2014.

There are still Night Buses...

AnonymousJune 12th 2014.

My reading of the TfM' regular reportt on Bus Services not for long.

Eve RichardsJune 12th 2014.

The council know there are problems. Hence why they are privatising the street cleansing teams. The cllrs decide where the cuts go it's gone on street cleaning. Ask exec members, Berstein and Leese why they aren't spending the money on cleaning.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 12th 2014.

Or ask your MP why central gov are cutting money for local gov so much compared with their own central gov departments.

JimboJune 12th 2014.

When I used to work for my dad, we used to sweep up and wash down outside the shop morning and night. Bottles, food, packaging, sick, and worse. As did all the other shop owners. We ticked all the Micro boxes. Not many of them are in business any more, unfortunately. And as such you won't find Mr Nando's, Mr Travelodge, Mr Barclays or Mr Primark doing the same thing. But that's OK because they're ticking all the Macro boxes.

Mark WoodallJune 12th 2014.

Manchester councillors are very quick to approve new food outlets/booze outlets which contribute litter especially and yet they are very slow in dealing with litter problems. im getting sick and tired of labour councillors blaming central government for the budget cuts. If other cities in Britain can be kept clean why not Manchester? !!! its embarassing to my friends who travel from all over tne UK. I purposely choose only Spinningfield/top end Deansgate as the only area to meet for food and drinks because everywhere else is full of dirt and rubbish. Its an embarrassment! !

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 12th 2014.

Currently you cannot reject an application for licenses though you can impose conditions. There are ways of limiting the number but Manchester has decided not to do it, in the City Centre.

AnonymousJune 12th 2014.

Totally agree with these comments. It's not only in the city centre, in suburbs like Didsbury, bins are overflowing, old and need replacing, especially after the weekend. The occasional litter pickets I see have sticks to pick up the litter. They really need machines! I have suggested to the Council that open bins in the parks are replaced with covered recycling bins, to stop squirrels and foxes spreading the rubbish..nothing has happened. It's a disgrace everywhere!

AnonymousJune 12th 2014.

Maybe someone should start a Webpage for litter grot spots, highlighting the areas, date and time of incident - that may get the Council moving

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 12th 2014.

Good idea but also sent each page to Contact@manchester.gov.uk as well so they have to reply and build you campaign on that.

AnonymousJune 12th 2014.

I'm pretty sure all the grand people who moaned about it for example did not raise it with the Council.

AnonymousJune 12th 2014.

Living in the city centre you are faced with grotty streets with ppl coming in, esp at the weekends, using it only to party and chuck their rubbish in a way they never would in their own area. To make matters worse the council sends out the street sweeper machine at 3-4am on WEEKDAYS (why are taxpayers paying for this overtime?) to wake up residents who need to get to work in a few hours. It's been driving us crazy whenever we have the windows open. If only the sweeper sorted out the mess, but it leaves most of the rubbish behind it its noisy wake. Useless, noisy waste of everyone's tax money.

Anthony FallonJune 12th 2014.

It's not merely litter and fag ends where the problems lie, there are fairly new residential developments everywhere surrounded by rusting bridges, filthy brickwork and out of control weeds and shrubs. This is especially common around Victoria Train Station and the Phones 4 U Arena. In addition, the filthy state and outdated appearance of yellow-tiled Arndale House is an instant turn-off to visitors. If the tiles cannot be removed to enable re-cladding then please demolish the building. The same applies to another filthy 1970's concrete behemoth, The Renaissance Hotel. Here's an out-of-the-box idea, why not repaint it in pastel pink, similar to art deco structures in Miami Beach.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Poster BoyJune 13th 2014.

anything else...?!

AnonymousJune 12th 2014.

Also do residents just and businesses not have a duty to clean the areas also? I've seen residents of flats leave their rubbish in bin bags on huge street rather than walk rounds to the bin store and a lot of food premises dump on the street they don't care either.

AnonymousJune 12th 2014.

I LOVE this city..Have also lived in France, Germany, Glasgow, Edinburgh & London..Manchester is a disgrace, when it comes to litter..BECAUSE this is home and love it so much. I am truly ashamed of the place at times..Like many, feel it could soon be a reason to sadly LEAVE.... Leeds & Liverpool seem cleaner, whenever we go there...

AnonymousJune 12th 2014.

This forum is GREAT and it shows people CARE & LOVE MANCHESTER.....

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 14th 2014.

absolutely correct, we care and want things to change but difficult when the council is a basket case and the leader Howard Bernstein is Mr. Apathy. If his pension was made dependent on the state of the city's streets, there'd be teams of litter pickers out in the early morning in key areas and lots of bins, and somebody going round checking, believe me.

David Michael EvansJune 12th 2014.

Just came back from Spain.. Seville ...spotless.. everywhere Cadiz ... spotless.. everywhere Malaga, Seville, Cadiz train stations ... amazingly clean on board the trains in between cities..completely litter free Nearly everywhere I went in Spain, spotlessly clean... Then travel to California, Japan, Singapore, Germany, Brussels, Australia...you name the place...cleaner than anywhere in the UK. British people are dirty and not clean when it comes to litter, and Manchester is worse than most places. Why? Manchester City Council are completely neglecting their duty to keep the city clean. No enforcement. No effective street cleansing ...check out all the chewing gum. No warning signs for littering and the penalties..anywhere. Drunks littering the streets by chucking late night take aways but no policing... Manchester is a filthy dump and the city government a shambles at dealing with it.

16 Responses: Reply To This...
AshybirdJune 13th 2014.

Even Benidorm, a regular attraction for the litter dropping Brits abroad (I see it every time I go), is clean. Street cleaning teams are out and about most mornings and it amazes me how clean the streets are after the night before and every night is Saturday night there! Manchester is extremely lazy in this department and the governing bodies need to pull their fingers out. It isn't rocket science.

AnonymousJune 13th 2014.

The council have very little staff to do enforcement when they carry out so many other disciplines. Central government are to blame for the amount of money taken from Manchester.

AnonymousJune 13th 2014.

It's the people that need the discipline. When they have that they will rise like a phoenix from the ashes of the post war brutalist mess and beam like the sun.

AnonymousJune 13th 2014.

I think it's a bit harsh to keep blaming the locals as it isn't the only the locals littering, I know many people from overseas who litter openly, overseas students are particularly bad for it.

AnonymousJune 13th 2014.

It can't be the Chinese students. They're too busy learning maths and science whilst the locals are watching X Factor and taking selfies.

AnonymousJune 13th 2014.

"Central government are to blame for the amount of money taken from Manchester." - eh?

AnonymousJune 13th 2014.

Invariably it isn’t residents littering their own neighbourhood but visitors from outside. Much of the litter starts on the zombie car parks on the edge of town and their failures in keeping their estates tidy: they set the psychology of littering in the city without any impunity from MCC. It continues with the takeaway cuisine culture associated with the 24hr drinking culture the council has fully championed. It allies itself to the failure of MCC to install new bins when Capital Spending is available as witnessed aroung the NOMA estate. Residents in Manchester pay higher Council Tax than most of Central London yet for pretty nonexistent Policing and Street cleaning services. If Manchester is to be an attractive investment proposal then MCC need to get a grip with its neighbourhood maintenance as a basic. Unfortunately whilst you can argue that Central Government cuts have be savage, recent restructuring has diminished the number of staff on the ground who actually get things done whilst maintaining an expensive bureaucracy of middle managers with clipboards achieving nothing.

AnonymousJune 13th 2014.

How can you blame central government for the mess Manchester is in? Take those big red labour blinkers off and get in the real world eh?!

AnonymousJune 13th 2014.

It's not a party political point, all local councils have been hit hardest by central government cuts despite (reportedly) being the most efficient part of the public sector. Then you have to factor that cuts to local gov budgets has been much less than that to central government departments and of those cuts, urban councils facing the most complex and costly social problems have been hit the hardest. This is plain fact. The enemy here is not the EU, not local councils but central government. Who really knows what services they provide or whether they represent value for money? They certainly don't seem to do much that most people feel and experience on a daily basis despite holding the purse strings. So whatever the failings locally you simply cannot disentangle these from the very dependent and suffocating relationship that exists between central and local. Devolution for cities is what we need - more responsive local services, better quality of life and re-invigorated local democracy. It's the future if only people weren't in thrall to the banal and ineffective Westminster circus.

Mark FullerJune 13th 2014.

In 2013 Manchester's council leader Richard Leese said this: "more progress on giving cities control of their destiny has occurred in 3 years of this government than under 13 years of Labour". The new city deal, and the regional growth fund are enabling city regions to finance the investment which they, not central government deem essential. Ironically, the last thing the Labour controlled council need is the return of a Labour government.

AnonymousJune 13th 2014.

There is truth in that Mark. But the fact remains that even after these welcome although limited moves towards devolution this is a city that is still controlled more from London that it is from Albert Square. Regardless of who is in power this situation needs for change.

AnonymousJune 13th 2014.

Beware of ruses like the "regional growth fund" too. This is really the same as the regional development agency funding of the previous governed rebadged and slashed to a fraction of what it was, the spending of which is ultimately accountable to a civil servant in Westminster as before. This is NOT devolution.

Mark FullerJune 14th 2014.

Yes Anon. what we have seen in recent years is more effective collaboration between the Manchester city region and central government. I think that we are witnessing a gradual trend towards genuine devolution. But to get back to the topic: everyone needs to collaborate to make Manchester a more successful, attractive and clean city.

AnonymousJune 14th 2014.

You can't blame central government for litter. It's a local government issue. All Labour councils in the north have been hit by severe budget cuts but only Manchester looks like a dump

AnonymousJune 15th 2014.

To be fair few cities provide services for such a large metropolitan area but yet the council tax base is mostly constrained to the inner most deprived wards. Any cuts are going to have an impact on frontline services eventually, most especially for cities like Manchester that play host to so many external visitors. Having said all that it is depressing to hear the council talk of these bog standard new bins as some sort of panacea.

AnonymousJune 15th 2014.

... But the point is that central government, who appear to hold local government in contempt are largely culpable too. They care not a jot about the quality of local services. And knowing that people will blame the council and not the ministers or MPs for the deterioration of services makes council budgets a very soft target for their cuts.

SAZKJune 12th 2014.

In a way I am almost so used to practically wading through litter each day it rarely shocks me any more. However this week I had separate conversations with 2 people I met, one from London and one from Spain. Both mentioned how shocking they found the litter situation in Manchester. Although I agreed i was still surprised when I asked them how they were finding Manchester, and they mentioned the litter right away. It was the 'but' in their sentence that came after the good things they had to say. All week now, all I notice everywhere I look is litter and mess, it's embarrassing and it's shameful that people here don't have more pride in the city. Which is a vicious circle - how can you feel proud when you're living in a dump?

AnonymousJune 13th 2014.

You are right in that MCC is top heavy with managers as always. Front line staff are cut to the bare bones basically there isn't enough of them to be out on the street as there should be. People also need to take responsibility for Where they live. I clean up where I live everyone should do the same.

AnonymousJune 13th 2014.

My auntie visited from London soon as she met me at Manchester Piccadilly her response 'How can London be spotless and Manchester full of Rubbish' bottles/cans/paper everywhere it looks like a dump. I suggested to the council why not do what they do in Berlin/Netherlands for example homeless people collect the empty bottles/cans and take to a recycling centre and get paid for each item them bring. So its a win win situation homeless people can earn some cash and Manchester gets cleaned up! my response from the council was 'yes we know about these schemes in other cities' Pat Karney get off your A** and do something about it!!!!

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 13th 2014.

He's not A****, because he can do as he pleases and he'll always be in charge as will his mates. Until enough people stop thinking you can only vote for one party and one party alone, because you just have to, nothing will change. Almost everywhere I've visited with the exception of some parts southern Italy are cleaner than central Manchester. Can ManCon get someone from the council to give us some answers on this like they did with Piccadilly Gardens? We know we'll get some tripe about it not being that bad and we've got the biggest bins in Europe but I think a lot of people are really fed up with the litter and grime in Manchester and want some proper answers.

Christine QuinnJune 13th 2014.

I know we are quick to blame the council, and they do have an ultimate responsibility, but what about Mancunions? Don't we have a responsibility? It's about not dropping littler in the first place. We shouldn't need people to have to clear up after us!! It's our City, we are proud of it, let's all look after it!!

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 13th 2014.

A lot of people are proud of it, as you can see on here, but with two big football teams, one of the biggest selling indoor arenas in the world as well as numerous concerts and events we attract millions of people who come into Manchester from outside of the area. They have a good time and go home without much regard for keeping the place clean and tidy. We need people issuing fines for litter dropping. Until that happens some people will never use bins no matter how big they are. I'd implement a £50 fine for litter dropping and if you are caught again it goes up to £100. The streets would be spotless in no time.

AnonymousJune 13th 2014.

another example, I contacted the council to come and move 2 bin bags full of rubbish dumped on our street near a restaurant in the City Centre, which the bin men would not move as it was not in a bin. The response was its from the restaurant so the council will not move it, (even though the council had no proof it was from the restaurant). So I asked if they could contact the restaurant, the councils response was 'No sorry you will have to contact them yourself' Great Service!!!!

4 Responses: Reply To This...
JoanJune 14th 2014.

Please let me have details. This is not an appropriate response from MCC. cllr.j.davies@btinternet.com

JoanJune 14th 2014.

Sorry. Mixed my two addresses. Please use: cllr.j.davies@manchester.gov.uk

AnonymousJune 17th 2014.

Hi Joan, Im sorry I no longer have the emails the email address I used was contact@manchester.gov.uk Thanks

JoanJune 17th 2014.

No prob. Let me know if there's further issues.

AnonymousJune 13th 2014.

For those that are residents of the city centre. Why not through your residents association arrange a clear up of your area. We do that regularly in my area as residents we all have a responsibility. We get all the community involved.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 14th 2014.

Well done for doing this but it's actually the statutory duty of the council to keep the streets clean. That's what we pay our council tax for- not vanity schemes like the Library Walk

AnonymousJune 14th 2014.

It's fine having advertising campaigns, installing new bins etc. but the bottom line is Manchester City Centre needs a much bigger dedicated team of cleaners than work round the clock to keep the city spotless. It's an absolute disgrace and an embarrassment when visitors come to stay. If the Council can't sort this out, how can we trust them with anything. It's not rocket science, it's basic management. Asking residents to act as unpaid cleaners is not the answer.

AnonymousJune 14th 2014.

I agree the council could do with more workers for street cleansing bottom line they aren't going to get any which is why they they are going out to contractors from next year. The library walk revamp was done by money from the capital budget street cleansing from revenue budget. Money from one budget to another can't be transferred. Rather than people complaining on here, people should bombard the council ask the leader and exec members why they have let this happen. People just like to moan and don't take any action.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 14th 2014.

It appears that Library Walk is the cause if all the world's ills. Never mind sorting out Piccadilly Gardens, paying for libraries and leisure centres in every community, ensuring that the whole of Manchester remains litter free forever, you also have famines, conflicts, global warming, sick children, space missions etc - all of which could have been funded by the money saved on the library walk entrance building.

AnonymousJune 15th 2014.

Library Walk is simply put forward as perfect symptom of the council's attitude - spending on vanity projects, whilst pleading poverty when it comes to the statutory duties they should be carrying out. As i'm sure you're aware of, but opted to be a smartarse instead.

AnonymousJune 15th 2014.

Completely irrelevant. As the first anon said Lib Walk is from a capital budget, street cleansing from revenue budget. Entirely separate funding streams. That is not to say the building wasn't a poor idea but its existence has nothing to do with funding, or lack thereof, for statutory services.

AnonymousJune 15th 2014.

I do find it amusing how because there are different budget pools it is deemed impossible to spend money on street cleaning. We aren't talking about changing the laws of nature , rather moving money from one budget to another.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 16th 2014.

Still amused anon?

AnonymousJuly 5th 2014.

If you don't want to do something, one excuse is as good as another.

AnonymousJuly 6th 2014.

Sorry to have dashed your dearly held prejudices Anon #4 / Anon#1. www.islington.gov.uk/…/fund-and-spend.aspx…

AnonymousJune 17th 2014.

For the last few years MCC has been cutting services, including street cleansing, largely due to to government cuts. This can be blamed only so far. What they AREN'T doing is cutting the 40k+ jobs, heads of service, directors and various other "strategic" managers. Cut one of these posts and there is enough money for 5 street cleaners. It is the worst of cronyism; everyone below 40k has been forced to accept pay cuts and job losses, whilst those above have retained (and in many cases increased) salaries. Street cleansing was recently outsourced to a private company, now turning a basic service into a profit-driven service. If there are less staff, 30% less money and less responsibility, why then are bosses not taking the appropriate pay cuts?? Educating people about dropping litter is part of the issue, but accepting the problem and cleaning it up is the bigger part. As long as this continues, and the focus on basics is ignored, the problem will only get worse. Personally I think Manchester city centre is an overcrowded, claustrophic, anti-car, filthy, litter-strewn hell-hole.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 17th 2014.

education campaigns don't have any effect, people who throw litter know it's wrong.

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