Seagull menace continues as hotelier calls for help

Litter on Bond Street caused by seagulls tearing into plastic waste bags
Litter on Bond Street caused by seagulls tearing into plastic waste bags
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A hotelier plagued by rubbish says she has been forced to hire private cleaners to clear her street.

Karen Atkinson, owner of the Bond Hotel on Bond Street, Blackpool, is the second hotelier to speak out against council-issued plastic bin bags after The Kenley owner Mark Solomon photographed piles of rubbish behind his hotel on St Chad’s Road.

Ms Atkinson, 34, said: “At the moment I’ve got about 70 guests and I have had about 20 complaints this morning about the state of the lane.

“We pay a lot for our waste collection to make sure everything is got rid of properly. But with the plastic bags the seagulls just swoop down and shred them to pieces.

“People come here and have a great holiday and when it’s time for them to go home they’re having to traipse through rubbish to get to the car park.

“It looks like a rubbish dump. It looks like there’s a cesspit at the back of our hotel.”

She added that the waste problem was having a negative impact on her business, which holds a TripAdvisor certificate of excellence and is a popular destination for holidaymakers with disabilities.

She said: “I’ve seen people taking pictures of the rubbish outside. They will likely appear on the internet in reviews for my hotel.

“It’s a problem for all hotels in Blackpool.”

Blackpool Council’s waste collection service offers a bin and bag removal service, with plastic bags given to properties that don’t have sufficient storage space for a bin.

Ms Atkinson said: “Every single property on this street has a yard. They all have space for a wheelie bin.

“I’ve spoken to the council about seagull-proof bags and they say they have issued them but if they’re not being used there’s nothing more they can do.

“I’ve had this problem every week for a year and nothing is being done about it.

“We have guests going home with eggshells on their cars. I’m having to pay for private cleaners to come in and clean my guests’ cars before they go home.

“It’s very disheartening. It’s just not on.”

Coun Gillian Campbell, Deputy Leader of Blackpool Council, said: “For people to blame every untidy back alley on the council is completely wrong.

“Our staff are the ones who have to clean up the mess but they aren’t the ones making it. The responsibility for keeping Blackpool clean lies at everybody’s doorstep and all residents, businesses and landlords need to play their part in make sure people don’t use their alleyway as a dumping ground.

“That rings true of every town, however with the millions of pounds that has been taken out of Blackpool by the Government’s cuts - and the many staff that have had to be laid off because of it - we simply do not have the same amount of resource to go around cleaning up after other people’s mess anymore.

“We will look at supplying the residents with our seagull-proof sacks to help but the onus has to be on the whole street, and the entire town, to work together to keep the area clear and clean, as opposed to relying on us to clean up.”