RESIDENTS have been gobsmacked by the latest antics at Thornton Heath’s historic clock tower which has been graffitied and turned in to home from home by the latest group gathering there.
Even by Thornton Heath standards the bizarre trail of clothes, shoes, a tool box, swivel chair, coffee maker, and cooking hob have been a surprise addition to the council’s regeneration of the area.
Worst still for days on end the council seemed incapable of removing what was being reported as a fly tip by multiple residents which meant it should have been removed within 48 hours.
A large rock which was placed at the Clocktower by the council was daubed with the words ‘Shan’ while benches installed as part of the regeneration were graffitied with the words: “SAS Clocktower” though it may have been a misspelling and should have read ‘SOS’.
Even the poor old clocktower which has stood there since 1900 hasn’t escaped being graffitied.
As the council prepares to make even more cuts including axing further Neighbourhood Safety Officer jobs a councillor told The Chronicle that the council was now ‘non functioning’.
There are no longer staff to deal with many of the situations being reported.
Councillor Karen Jewitt responding to complaints repeatedly reported the issue to council officers but it is unclear whether the council were removing the items or whether more was just being added to the Clocktower jumble trail.
At one point a council enforcement van turned up to observe the situation but the officer didn’t get out to challenge any of the behaviour.
Eventually The Street brothers who run We Clean Windows Ltd took it upon themselves to remove the mess. Sadly the graffiti won’t be removed because since it shut down its anti graffiti team the council only removes ‘offensive’ graffiti.
Over the past few years the Clocktower has become a magnet for anti social behaviour with drinking, shouting and fights breaking out. At one point a group of 16 routinely gathered drinking all day. Last May, during one all day session the Clocktower door was set fire. The area was in a No Drinking Zone but last year the council consulted on the future of Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) in the borough.
Hamida Ali, now the council leader, said previously: “Public Space Protection Orders are an important tool to help the council and police tackle antisocial behaviour and improve public spaces for everyone.”
It’s unclear what he result of the consultation was or if it was ever implemented. The police have also repeatedly asked the council for the chairs to be removed but it has fallen on deaf ears.