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Bonkers Blog February 2014

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24 February (Part 2) - Who’d be a shop owner in Bexley?

Wilton Rd. Recycling bins RoadThe weekend’s reports of more shop closures and the assault on trade that Bexley council is inflicting on Sidcup do not show the full extent of their attacks on business in the borough.

The appearance of a beige coloured recycling bin in Gayton Road, just around the corner from Abbey Wood’s Wilton Road shopping area, provoked some questions. Had Bexley run out of blue ones, if not who did it belong to? My enquiries revealed yet more intransigence from Bexley council.

As is well known, the western side of Wilton Road is in Greenwich and the eastern in Bexley. Most of the shop premises are rented, often the upstairs is residential and the ground floor occupier has no rights to anything beyond his four walls.

The rear of the premises border Bexley council’s car park and its access road. Some traders have the use of the rear of the property and others do not. Those without any rights to use the rear of the property have nowhere to put their rubbish, there is no place to store a bin.

Some have done deals with other nearby businesses, usually on the Greenwich side of the road, to add their rubbish to what is collected for them under commercial contract. This attracted the wrath of Bexley council which was first drawn to my attention a couple of years ago. Bexley council had noted the lack of rubbish and assumes it is being put in the shop owners’ domestic bins at their home addresses. There is not a shred of evidence of it happening but it has not stopped Bexley council threatening prosecution.

The best solution by far would be for Bexley council to provide a secure lockable bin for trade refuse and charge accordingly. The existing recycling facility in Gayton Road would be an ideal location. No one lives in Gayton Road and it is not the prettiest. Railway, car park, viaduct, bins; another one or two wouldn’t matter. However Bexley council has refused an offer to pay, they insist on traders providing their own bins or they prosecute.

One trader has taken the council at its word. He entered a contract with a waste company to have his own bin, just as Bexley council instructed him to do. But there is nowhere private to put it, so the contractor did the best he could. Bexley council has again announced its intention to prosecute. No one in the appropriate department appears to have any ideas other than to prosecute for something, it doesn’t matter what as long as some poor businessman is being driven closer to the wall.

Wilton Road used to boast a butcher, a greengrocer, a health food shop and delicatessen, an electrical appliance retailer, a pet shop, a hardware shop and a florist. All now gone and replaced by hairdressers, takeaways and betting shops, although the gift shop has taken over the florist business. Bexley council continues to make life hard for the few that survive. Perhaps they have a deal with Sainsburys (Cross Quarter) now under construction to the north of the railway line


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