Mill Pond in Palace Avenue Receives Spring Clean

9 Apr 2024
Len Clean Up

Fifteen refuse sacks of litter were retrieved from the Rootes Mill Pond in Palace Avenue on Saturday afternoon. The long overdue clean-up was undertaken by local Borough and County Councillors Dinesh Khadka, Clive English, Chris Passmore and Tony Harwood.

Amongst the squalid haul was recklessly discarded fishing tackle, syringes, 'sharps' boxes, traffic cones, fast food detritus, soiled underwear and hundreds of drink bottles and cans. The councillors were clear that this was just the first phase of a comprehensive clean-up of the area - as huge quantities of litter still disfigure the mill pond's banks and island.

Observing the sad plight of a Moorhen attempting to create a nest from a collection of potentially lethal litter made the councillors determined to clear the area, despite the practical challenges involved in accessing the mill pond.

The councillors were all united in the view that the mill pond should be a focal point for the town - a beautiful, cooling, urban oasis and wildlife haven, rather than a too often polluted and litter-strewn eyesore. The redevelopment of Len House and planned 'daylighting' of the adjacent stretch of the River Len provides a once in a lifetime opportunity for the rehabilitation of this for too long neglected part of the town.


Cllr. Dinesh Khadka, who organised the clean-up, stated: "We cannot leave all the responsibility of clearing litter and fly-tipping to our overstretched council environment team." He continued: 'As individuals we all need to take more pride in our area and each do what we can to keep the County Town clean."

County Cllr. Chris Passmore added: "Businesses, landowners and public sector organisations, like the County Council and National Highways, also need to do more to keep the land they are responsible for litter and fly-tipping free."

Councillor Clive English expressed a concern that cleanliness across the Borough has declined in recent years. He stated: "Maidstone is drowning under a tidal wave of litter and and compares very badly with other parts of the UK." Adding "Behaviours have got to change and both enforcement and education need to be stepped up."

Councillor Tony Harwood summed up the situation when he stated "It is not the natural state of things to live in a rubbish tip, if people just stopped dropping litter and dumping waste we'd all be a lot happier, healthier and richer."

As a postscript, Tony Harwood wants to see the mill pond incorporated into the River Len Local Nature Reserve, which he believes will ensure the site is managed appropriately for wildlife and kept clean going forward. Tony, who is also chair of the management committee of the reserve, explained that: "A past attempt to assimilate the mill pond into the River Len Local Nature Reserve were not supported by Maidstone Council." Adding: "A higher profile for the mill pond, associated with the redevelopment of Len House, provides an opportunity to re-energize the nature reserve designation debate."

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