Town Events 2009-13

WETS town clean up 2009

(June 06, 2009)
13 Sept 2009
wets before
avenue after
Top photo shows The Avenue looking west before the volunteers went to work and the second photo after the work had been completed.
AROUND a dozen people signed up to George Jolley’s WETS team on Sunday morning to tackle The Avenue’s litter problem in the centre of the town.

The famous and ancient footpath cum cycleway needed quite a lot of TLC so George had placed an ad in the Warminster Journal to drum up support.

It seemed to work.

“I think we have achieve a great deal today and it has possibly been our best morning’s work avenue team so far,” said ex-railwayman George.

“I’m particularly pleased that we were able to help the MS centre out by mowing their grass which had become very overgrown.”

As well as grass the team tackled undergrowth along the sides of The Avenue by cutting back or removing a large amount of brambles and other unwanted, unsightly weed growth.

WETS had the permission of the owners to tackle the worst affected areas and now plans to use part of its town council grant to buy 10 kg of bulbs that will be on special offer on Thursday for just £8.

“I’m particularly pleased that the team was able to make such a difference to The Avenue as it is such an important artery for pedestrians and cyclists and for those using the railway station,” said Steve Dancey from VFW.

avenue george“It makes a very poor impression when it is the first area seen by a new visitor.

The large areas of undergrowth made it all to easy for people to toss away rubbish but now their actions will be clearly visible - not that that fact will deter some though.”

Previously VisionforWarminster has carried out a number of litter pick in the area but the rubbish re-appeared almost as quickly as it was taken away.

In future WETS will be meeting on the second Sunday of every month and the next likely project will be The River Were running along the edge of the Grovelands estate on the west of the town.
Pictured above: George used to play rugby for Weymouth in his youth but rather fittingly the team liberated this Gilbert rubgy ball from the undergrowth on the same weekend that the rugby club opened their new clubhouse. The ball is of the same type used in the world cup.
Latest 26 July
The team resumed its work on the Primrose Walk footpath and completed another significant section.
A third week of shovelling and shifting should see this job finished.
This we we were joined by litter campaigner  Heather Vine who took a photo of members of the team near the end of their exertions.
It is being sent to the Journal for possible publication. 
 Latest 19 July
MEMBERS of George Jolley’s WETS environmental team tackled their biggest job to date - Primrose Walk.
The footpath links Weymouth Street and Sambourne and pathneeded a lot of TLC.
There was significant weed growth across much of the pathway and a large amount of soil had slipped down the bank along most of the length making it difficult for some people, especially the visually impaired, to use the path in safety.
Eight volunteers, including a Copheap Lane couple with a small trailer, managed to clear away soil and undergrowth from about the first 60 yards at the eastern end of the path.
“It was fairly hard work with several barrow loads of soil to be cleared away so there remains quite a length still to be tackled,” said Steve.
“The plan is to return to the area next Sunday to finish the job - weather permitting.”
If you would like to help clean up the town meet in Weymouth Street at 10am and enjoy a couple of hours of manual labour and work up a good appetite. Bring your own shovel!
One surprise was the almost total lack of litter - though there is some at the western end of the path which is still to be clearer.
Pictured: The newly cleared footpath.
LATEST  28 June

THIS Sunday’s morning of activity by Goerge Jolley’s WETS team concentrated on the Avenue - an area where Vision for Warminster has carried out three previous litter picks.

Armed with brooms and shovels a group of 10 people swept, scraped and hoed away at the rubbish and build-up of grime along this important thoroughfare.

Many hands make light work and after an hour or so of toil the Avenue was looking a good deal better for all the attention.

After this the team broke into two groups with Chris March and Steve Dancey joining George at the Town Hall to keep abreast of the mess created by the pigeon community.

“I think if there is some cleaning up carried out on a regular basis it is possible to keep on top of the worst of the problems caused by the birds in this locality,” said Steve.

The other group tackled the walkway at the side of the old Woolworths and had their work cut out with a significant amount of weed growth.

Next Sunday the team will be needing their Wellington boots as the plan is the clear some of the weed and anything else from the Swan River (or River Were) which runs through the park.

“We’re called the WETS so it will give us an opportunity to get a little wet,” said George.

With a heat wave predicted this week it could prove to be a popular assignment.
 7 June
WARMINSTER Town Hall was given a much needed dose of TLC th1on 7 June when a team of volunteers led by retired railwayman George Jolley (pictured) toiled to put the building back on track looks wise.
Over the years the public face of the building had been allowed to become very drab with windows covered in grime and a general build up of grime.
On closer inspection things were worse as a heavy soiling caused by pigeon excrement meant that some areas were nothing short of disgusting.
Worst hit area was the gated entranceway to the historic building which in recent years has been claimed by the pigeons as their own.
But the workers started their efforts just after 7.30am and before long things started to change.
George and his son were joined by a specialist window cleaner from Vicarage Street, cllr Chris March (pictured right) from the town council, Steve Dancey from VFW another member of the public and most importantly three volunteers from Wiltshire Fire Brigade led by Chris Trimby (Pictured below). (Paul Macdonald was th2 visiting his daughter in hospital)
The first job involved removing as much of the dung from the front of the building and from a variety of nooks and crannies, then bagging it up, then brushing up window sills before the fire brigade used their powerful water house to effectively wash away any remains.
“I think we have made a real difference,” said George, who wants to set up a group called Warminster Environmental Team Services. (WETS)
After this padlocks were put onto the former toilet block to stop the area becoming a dumping ground and - best bit - was when a strip of one inch screws were laid on one of the pigeons favourite roosting places with a view to stopping them use the area.
“I took a look about an a hour after they were put in and its seems to have worked - so there shouldn’t be quite so much mess building up quite so quickly in the entrance way,” said Steve.
th3“I was very pleased to play my small part in the clean up which is very welcome and will make a big difference to the look of the town if continued.
“It addresses the short term problem but something will ultimately need to be sorted out in the long term to give this much loved building a viable future.
“It can’t be pulled down, must be maintained but I feel that the cost of the building would outstrip any profit a private user might make.
“Although there is one firm, Prezzo PLC, which specialises in opening restaurants in buildings such as this, it may well be that Warminster doesn’t have enough people to warrant their interest.” th4
Pictured: The team survey the  achievement after a couple of hours on the job.
Sunday 14  June
This week the focus of the clean up in Warminster moved to East Street where there are a number of long-standing  problems.
east stBut they don’t seem to have daunted George Jolley.
“Sydenhams have very kindly donated eight tins of paint and east1fortunately the colours seem to match up with those already in the area,” said George, (pictured at an empty shop).
“We are painting this property, washing down windows and weeding along the street to tidy things up.
“Hopefully it is going to encourage other people to have a go themselves.”
Pictured right - Chris Montagu weeds along by Yarde House.
After the work on East Steet the team moved back to the Town Hall where the pigeons have be busy again.
east 3The next clean up will take place on 28 June when the main area to get some attention will be the Avenue - one of the town’s litter hotspots.
Pictured left Paul Jolley smartens up one property with a lick of paint.

(VFW has already carried out four litter picks in The Avenue and collected in excess of 300 items of litter).

 Can litter be beaten ?
It can and in some places has been - but it takes imagination and will and a bin1sense of outrage clearly not felt by those currently in bin2charge of our town.

Clearly they don’t care or otherwise something would have been done by now as these people have been in charge for a long time now.

Success elsewhere has involved a programme of information, education and enforcement and also providing proper bins that people want to use. Signs that shame those spitting out gum and warn about fines.

We’ll start with education.

The new council will need to ram home the message on every lamppost that bin3littering is unacceptable and will be punished with a fine issued by litter wardens who vigorously pursue this matter.

It happens elsewhere and it works.

We need to install new bins, which take account of the fact that smoking has been forced out on to the streets by the smoking ban, and have integral ashtrays.

In Warminster we need to develop a ‘Warminster Rubbish Awareness Project’ which works through the schools to involve the whole community in reducing the rubbish, sets up community litter picking teams and organises mass clear ups of badly hit areas, perhaps by involving the garrison.

We need to engage with the whole community in this through newspapers, community groups, local radio,  the community area partnership, civic trust, the police and in fact everyone who has a vested interest in keeping this community tidy. bin4

We have the will and imagination to force this programme forward but we are likely to get little help from the town council as they seem about as interested in this subject as they are in the town hall.

In July, if the right people have been elected, it could well be that this subject is forced to the top of the local agenda at the Warminster Area Board.
We know there are people concerned about this matter such as Heather Vine in warminster and the teams of rubbish clearers in Corsley and Chapmanslade.
There must be many more in Warminster - all we need do is mobilise them.
If other towns can crack this problem then so can we.

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