'Filthy-rat infested' rubbish mountain to be cleared within three months in Willenhall

A mountain of rubbish that could be seen from Google Earth and created a "nightmare" for Willenhall people living next to it is finally being removed.

The mountain of fly-tipping in Short Heath, as seen from Google Earth. PIC: Google
The mountain of fly-tipping in Short Heath, as seen from Google Earth. PIC: Google

Government inspectors have ordered Galil London Ltd to remove the eyesore which includes scrap metal, furniture and children’s toys within three months after rejecting an appeal for more time.

Aerial pic of the huge pile of rubbish near Haley Street, Willenhall
Huge pile of fly-tipping on Arrow Industrial Estate on Straight Road, Short Heath. PIC: Gurdip Thandi

Residents on Haley Street described living next to the pile for several years as a "filthy, rat-infested nightmare” with the mess creating a stink and attracting rats.

This resulted in a campaign to get it cleared and saw Walsall Council issue an enforcement notice on February 25 demanding the rubbish be cleared by the end of May.

But the company appealed saying the had been advised it would cost them £350,000 to clear the site in line with the notice and would need six to nine months to do it.

Planning inspector Ken McEntee said Galil had sufficient time to clear the site without the need for more time and was already making progress.

Mr McEntee said: “The appellant’s agent contends that the appellant has been advised by a neighbouring skip company that it will take six to nine months to clear the site.

“The appellant has obtained quotes for earlier clearance but found they are in the region of £350,000 and he contends he doesn’t currently have such funds.

“Therefore, he requests that the compliance period be extended to nine months to allow time for him to obtain the necessary funds and for the site to be cleared.

Huge pile of fly-tipping on Arrow Industrial Estate on Straight Road, Short Heath. PIC: Gurdip Thandi

“Nevertheless, I note he has already instructed a company to carry out the works and they began clearing the site a month before submission of this appeal.

“Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that works have now been progressing for the last four months. Indeed, the appellant has provided photographic evidence to demonstrate that good progress has been made.

“As the compliance period will begin again from the date of this decision, the appellant will effectively have had some six months to clear the site and to improve his financial position.

“I consider this period to be reasonable and proportionate. In these circumstances, I am not satisfied there is good reason to extend the compliance period further.”

Walsall Council leader Mike Bird said: “The Planning Inspector has dismissed the appeal and upheld the council’s served enforcement notice.

“This means that the owners of the site are required to comply with the terms of the notice and to cease the use of the land for the unauthorised storage of mixed waste materials, to remove the unauthorised waste and to repair and erect boundary fencing to prevent unauthorised access to the site.

“I appreciate that residents in the area have expressed concern about this situation and I would like to reassure them that the council will be monitoring the necessary compliance with the enforcement notice.”

“This outcome demonstrates Walsall Council’s commitment to pursue flagrant breaches of planning permission and we are extremely pleased with the inspector’s decision.”

Short Heath councillors said residents had fought hard alongside them to get the mess shifted and were delighted with the outcome.

Councillor Sarah-Jane Cooper said: “This positive outcome is great news for Short Heath residents. Thank you to those who joined our campaign to get this pile of rubbish removed from our area.

“We would also like to thank the Planning Inspectorate for holding the occupiers of this site to account.”

Councillor Amandeep Garcha added: “It is fantastic that the rubbish has already started to be cleared from the site.

“This will significantly improve the quality of life of our residents who have waited so long for this and we couldn’t be happier with the result.”

And Councillor Josh Whitehouse said: “Our residents have campaigned hard alongside us to remove this blight from Short Heath.

“We would like to thank everyone for their patience and hope this will create a happier and healthier place to live and work.”

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