Nappies, needles and rubbish dumped near Walsall primary school

A headteacher has blasted fly-tippers after drug needles and used nappies were dumped near a primary school.

Fly-tipping at the former Butler's Arms site in Harden Road, Walsall
Fly-tipping at the former Butler's Arms site in Harden Road, Walsall

The rubbish was left on and around the site of the former Butler’s Arms pub on the corner of Harden Road and Bloxwich Road, close to Christ Church CE Primary School.

Fencing around the site has been ripped down and resulted in a huge of amount of fly-tipping including drug paraphernalia, dirty nappies, food and household waste – and locals say it’s bringing rats into the area.

Sean Davies, headteacher at Christ Church school, said: “This week, there have been a number of needles found, out on the streets directly on the walkway to our school.

“It only takes one child to trip over and if a sharp goes into their hand, it doesn’t bear thinking about. For us it’s a safeguarding issue now.

Fly-tipping at the former Butler's Arms site in Harden Road, Walsall

“For a while now, that derelict piece of land has been an eyesore in the area.

“Because the fences have been damaged and knocked down, there is always the chance that children could be getting into it.

“It’s not just about our children but secondary school ones who get picked up by minibuses there. A few times I’ve seen them walking out of the site.

“Stuff that has been thrown over there such as soiled nappies and things like that just bring in rats and vermin. It’s disgusting really.”

He added the site needs to be developed and could be converted into a car park to solve traffic issues in the area.

Councillor Lee Jeavons, who is chair of governors at Christ Church, said there were fears for the safety of children and people in nearby businesses and houses.

ASK Securities, who own the site, said they have spent thousands securing it and carry out regular clean ups of the area.

Russell Eynon, who runs Breakwells Paints nextdoor to the site, said: “I want it cleaned up because it is outside our door and it looks a mess.

“There’s people going on there drinking and drug taking and we’ve seen people coming and dumping food, nappies, pushchairs, pizza boxes – all sorts of things.

“In the past our CCTV has picked up someone doing it at 3am but it happens during the daytime in full view of everyone too.

“On one occasion, needles were even thrown over our wall and landed on our fire escape.

“I’ve contacted the council a number of times over it. Something needs to be done about it and we need a long term solution from somebody.”

A used needle found on Harden Road in Walsall Photo: Lee Jeavons

Councillor Jeavons said: “A couple of syringes have been found on the boundary of the site and elsewhere.

“I’m most concerned for the safety of our very young children on their way to school when we find hypodermics in the street. I dread what would happen if they picked it up.

“The site has been derelict for at least 10 years. You get youths going on there drinking. It is very undesirable for people who live, work and go to school there.”

Previously, Walsall Council bosses have refuted claims the closure of waste recycling centres during lock down was to blame for fly-tipping.

They have also introduced stricter fines for environmental such as littering and fly-tipping.

Ward councillor Matt Ward added: “It should become a housing site because it’s a prime location for apartment blocks to go there.

“We are getting loads of anti-social behaviour with the drug use, and it’s not fair on residents, businesses and people that go to school near there.”

Councillor Garry Perry, Portfolio Holder for Communities said: “We are aware of issues relating to fly-tipping and discarded needles being left at the site.

“Our Clean and Green team will continue to respond promptly to cleansing issues reported on the highway and public land. Removal of waste on private land is the responsibility of the landowner.

Tom Krothe, of ASK securities, said: “There are a lot of social problems in this area with drugs and unemployment.

“We have CCTV covering the site and do regularly go there and we do regularly clean and maintain it as much as we can.

“We put the fencing around it and that keeps getting broken down. Also, we were made aware travellers wanted to use it so we invested £6,000 to put concrete bollards down to stop vehicles from accessing it.

“We are trying to control it but the council need to assist as well.

“The fly-tipping problem is because people can’t get on to the tip easily and they aren’t open as much as before. Those who fly tip won’t make an appointment, they’ll just throw it somewhere."

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