Private firm to tackle the twin ills of our district
A PRIVATE firm could be brought in to tackle dog fouling and fly-posting in Thanet.
The council is considering bringing in contractors to help its own enforcement officers.
Thanet council launched a campaign to highlight the issue of dog fouling but figures show that fewer than ten people in a year have been fined for not picking up mess.
The entire district is covered by two dog wardens and only one fine has been issued in the last month.
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Alan Poole, cabinet member for environmental services, is considering allowing private firms to issue fines for fouling and fly-posting.
Mr Poole said: "The problem we have with enforcement is the difficulty in catching people.
"For example, dog fouling often occurs early in the day and late at night and we need to catch them in the act.
"We are looking at bringing in private staff to supplement our current team on a performance-related basis. They will be only paid on the results they achieve."
Fly-posting is another issue that blights Thanet's towns.
Empty premises are an easy target for stickers and posters promoting events with art exhibitions, club nights and circuses.
Robin Vaughan-Lyons runs two shops in Margate High Street and is a member of the Town Team.
Mr Vaughan-Lyons said: "Visitors to Margate on the bank holiday weekend in Margate were welcomed with fly-posters and graffiti. Enough is enough.
"If a place looks a mess, it will just encourage more mess and the spiral of decline continues.
"It is not up to local councillors and traders to be going out and cleaning our streets. I for one will not pick up a broom until the people responsible have been prosecuted and made to remove their mess.
"None of the businesses that have been fly-posting have to my knowledge been out and cleaned the streets voluntarily as we have in the past."
Ramsgate artist Terry Burton is among the fly posters.
He distributed 2,000 posters to promote his latest exhibition and pledged to remove the adverts after the event.
Mr Burton said: "I only use sticky tape to attach the posters and most of them go into shop windows with permission from the owners.
"The problem is with the club promoters that use paste that is messy and hard to remove.
"I'm just starting out, so it's the only way I can afford to advertise my work."
Posters from Margate club promoters Starbwoy Empire are regular fixtures in empty shop windows in Thanet.
DJ Kayboi Ace said: "We always try to get permission from shop owners before we put our posters up.
"I didn't know that we couldn't put them up in closed down places, but I will talk with my team to make sure we only put posters where we have permission.
"I'll try and take down any posters on empty shop windows as soon as possible."
The council cannot remove bills from private property but are looking to contact venues advertised on posters to request removal or face court action.
Mr Poole said: "My message is simple. I want a prosecution of these fly-posters to send a message out that it is not acceptable.
"Businesses have a duty to make sure promoters of events on their premises do not engage in illegal fly-posting on our streets."