Local communities and council unite to tackle leaf fall hazard

As councils face harsher cuts each year, one group of residents come together to make their street safer.

The Big Sweep 2017 is all in a morning’s work for the residents of Plasturton Avenue.

Pontcanna residents were out in force two last Saturday as part of a community and council partnership to clean up the streets from leaf fall between October and January.
For the third year running dwellers of Plasturton Gardens swept up the leaves scattered over pavements and gutters as part of the Big Sweep. This community initiative across Cardiff works alongside the city council’s Love Where You Live campaign.
Poster for the big sweep
Posters like this dotted around the street encourage neighbours to take part in the Big Sweep.

Michael Statham, a 72 year-old local, was handing out leaf bags to other sweepers. “We sweep the leaves into the middle of the road into piles and the council remove them with an ash cart,” he said.
Michael Statham poised and ready for this year’s sweep.

The Big Sweep is also a chance for residents to get to know each other better. Katherine, 61 said, “It’s lovely being part of a neighbourhood community event- its very sociable.”
Neighbours young and old took part with their rakes and brooms including Theo, aged 2 and a half.

Leaf fall is a huge problem for residents across Cardiff whose lush surroundings become a hazard come autumn. “The sweep prevents people from slipping on leaves and ending up in hospital with a broken hip,” said resident John Kirby, 30.
The accumulation of leaf fall leads to a safety hazard in Pontcanna.

The initiative also benefits the local council who face harsher cuts to public services each year. Samantha Thomas, 30, cleansing supervisor from Cardiff council said, “There used to be someone sweeping down here every day but there’s definitely been pressure in terms of council cuts.”
Lorna Collinson, coordinator of the Love Where You Live campaign added “Sadly we can’t quite meet the need so we’re really excited about working with the local community.”
Leaf mounds in the road
A morning’s work waiting to be swept up by the council’s ash cart.

Residents however seem understanding of local financial pressures, “The council face horrible choices. What do you do, sweep the streets or house the homeless?” added resident John Fitz.