A PLUCKY grandfather has taken matters into his own hands to tackle flytipping near his home.
Community champion Kenny Deverson has spent his free time cleaning and revamping the alley behind his house, and is planning to plant shrubs and create a children’s play area.
Now the proud Prestonian is hoping to take his crusade around the neighbourhood, encouraging others to take care of where they live and clean up the area around New Hall Lane.
“We just want to clean up Preston,” said the 60-year-old, who lives in Waverley Road in St Matthew’s with wife Margaret.
“I’m not prepared to live in filth, I’m Preston born and bred and New Hall Lane is supposed to be the gateway to the city.”
Kenny, who has seven grandchildren and works six days a week in Liverpool, has dedicated every Sunday over the last six weeks to clearing the alley between Waverley Road and Dymock Road.
He said the area had been landscaped some years ago, but had become neglected and fallen victim to flytipping, with rats also spotted in the alley and in back yards.
He said: “I thought I don’t want to live like this.
“I’ve noticed it over the past two to three years, and about two to three months ago I decided to do something about it.
“I’ve got seven grandchildren and they play in the ginnel.
“I don’t want my grandchildren playing in the ginnel with rats and all the domestic waste and rubbish.
“I’m constantly going and shutting the gates, but you get people leaving the gates open.
“I was out the back on a sunny day and I said to one of the neighbours we have to do something, so we decided together on our day off we would clean up the alley.
“I’ve been going to car boot sales and buying second hand gardening tools out of my own pocket.
“We put on a pair of gloves and started moving all the junk people had fly-tipped.
“Then I borrowed a strimmer – the grass must have been about two-and-a-half feet long and we took it in turns to cut it.
“We haven’t planted anything at the moment because at the back there’s a rockery - I’m rearranging the boulders and I would like to get hold of some low-maintenance shrubs.
“I would like to re-grass it, I’m trying to rake out the old grass and I would like to put fresh seed down.
“And I would like a little play area for the kids as well, to keep it nice and tidy.”
Kenny, who has lived in the area for 25 years, said he was hoping for donations of tools from DIY shops so he could improve more of the area.
He has already started work on the alley at Harling Road.
He also said he wanted to make private landlords aware of the issue, and urge them to encourage tenants to keep the area tidy.
He said: “It was absolutely filthy, you were ashamed to walk down the street.
“Now it’s much improved.
“I’ve put posters up, every time I see a gate open I shut it, and I ask the neighbours to shut the gates.”
Kenny now hopes the clear-up will act as a catalyst for the whole area.
He said: “If we could use Waverley Road as a pilot scheme, it might spread.
“Since I’ve put the posters up and made people aware about closing the gates, there’s been less flytipping and I think people are starting to look after where they live.
“Landlords need educating to tell the tenants they can’t do what they are doing.
“I’m definitely willing to go and help out around St Matthew’s and Fishwick.
“We can’t leave it as it is.
“I wouldn’t mind going around knocking on doors giving people a leaflet asking them to take their bins in from the alley and help keep the alley clean.
“I’m willing to make people aware - it’s a community and we like to keep things nice and tidy.”
St Matthew’s councillor Roy Leeming said Kenny was doing an “excellent job”.
He said: “The issue in the back alley has been flytipping and he’s been very good in reporting it.
“It’s so frustrating that it feels like as soon as we (the council) manage to get one lot of flytipping cleared, people replace it.
“We do encourage everybody to take pride in their location and obviously we are really appreciative of what he’s doing.”
A Preston Council spokesman added: “It’s great to see people with pride in their area and wanting to make a difference.
“It’s an example of how local communities can make a difference, and without the council having to get involved.”