‘Most disgusting’ area shocks litterpick organiser

THE founder of a volunteer litterpicking group is gathering cross-party support for her mission to clean up Kestrel Way, which she describes as “the single most disgusting area we have ever come across”.

Lauren Horncastle, the driving force behind Woking Litter Warriors, was so outraged by the results of a recent pick at the Kestrel Way approach to the Goldsworth Park Trading Estate that she fired off a series of emails to local councillors and Woking Borough Council demanding action.

DRIVING FORCE – Lauren Horncastle with her father David and partner Rick Nicholson at the Kestrel Way clean up

Lauren listed the hazards the group had cleared away: “Not just the usual array of cans, glass and plastic bottles – many filled with urine – food containers and confectionary wrappers, but condoms, a large number of catheter bags and multiple examples of drug paraphernalia, including a used syringe, together with human excrement.

“Animals tend not to do it neatly wrapped up in shopping bags or in plastic bottles cut in half – and they don’t use toilet paper, which was also in evidence. All this, only yards away from a pathway through the woods used by schoolchildren and casual ramblers.

LITTER PIX – Lauren Horncastle on the Kestrel Way

 “The road is treated as an unofficial truck park and the majority of refuse must be generated by overnight or late-night parking here, either by truckers or others attracted by the lack of passing traffic late in the day.

“It shouldn’t be left up to volunteer groups like ours to take up the slack to make the area litter-free and less disgusting.

“Our group of 16 collected 42 bin bags’ worth of trash in two hours and we could have been there for ten times that and still not cleared the area.

“That this situation is allowed to continue is a blight on Horsell and Woking.”

Lauren has been backed by Horsell councillors Colin Kemp (Conservative) and Adam Kirby (Liberal Democrats), and she also recruited Woking MP Jonathan Lord to her cause at the Horsell Scouts and Guides Grand May Fayre on bank holiday Monday.

“Cllr Kemp indicated that Kestrel Way had long been a problem with no obvious solution and both councillors said they’d look into what action can be taken,” Lauren added. “They were very receptive to taking measures about the problem.

“Mr Lord was also very supportive.”

Lauren has had a positive response too from Geoff McManus, director of neighbourhood services at Woking Borough Council.

“I must thank you for your public-spirited efforts, which are much appreciated,” he said.

 “The situation you describe is not something that I had been made aware of previously and colleagues will be speaking with our contractors Serco to put together a plan of action as a priority.

TEAMWORK – The group with the 42 bags collected in two hours. Only the two blue bags contain material suitable for recycling

“It is an unfortunate fact that Serco operatives encounter numerous disgusting items during the course of their work each day, but I can assure you that we don’t give up on anywhere and invariably are very proud of Woking as a place to live and work.”

Nor has Lauren exhausted her list of interested parties.

“The sheer number of alcohol containers, many of them strong spirits, suggest some of the drivers may be operating vehicles under the influence, even the morning after.

“And finding a used syringe is frightening. It’s possible more drug equipment is still lurking in the undergrowth, after all we were only able to spend two hours clearing the area.

“I’ll be writing to Lisa Townsend, the Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner, to draw those points to her attention.”

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