Petition launched to keep Kenilworth's 'barrow operatives' who help keep streets clean

The roles are due to be dissolved but the council says the operatives will be joining a new team under a new contract

A petition has been set up to try and save the 'Barrow men' or 'Barrow operatives' in Kenilworth

Warwick District Council are due to stop the 'barrow operatives' job role due to a new contract coming in to provide street cleaning as well as maintenance services such as grass cutting and playground maintenance.

The petition was started by Anish Mathew after he saw a thread about the job position being taken away.

A petition has been set up to try and save the 'Barrow men' or 'Barrow operatives' in Kenilworth who help keep the town centre clean

Anish said: "I came to know about this after a post on Kenilworth Vibes on Facebook and saw that our town’s 'barrow man' Saji Mathew would be losing that job to become part of a new team.

"Saji is very popular in the community and this is all about keeping the role of barrow men - who keep the streets clean.

"The job role is just going to disappear.

"I spoke to Saji and he has been doing this job for over 10 years - he is such a dedicated person and I know he wants to stay in the same job.

A petition has been set up to try and save the 'Barrow men' or 'Barrow operatives' in Kenilworth who help keep the town centre clean

"I moved to Kenilworth from Coventry and I have always been proud of our town because it is clean but now I am worried with these new changes we are going to see more rubbish.

"This isn't about one person it's about losing a role and once it is taken we are never going to get it back."

As of Wednesday (March 17) the petition had more than 860 signatures.

Warwick District Council said the new street cleansing scheme will begin on March 29 with idverde UK.

The council said although it has faced a significant increase in costs for providing a street cleansing service, the new contract means that each town centre now has a dedicated crew that will visit the town first thing each morning, followed by another visit later in the day to carry out an additional cleanse, including emptying litter bins.

It also said that the Kenilworth, Leamington and Warwick Town Councils were asked to contribute towards the costs of continuing the 'barrow operatives' service but said they were unable to do so due to similar financial constraints.

idverde has confirmed that each Barrow Operative will be fully supported as they transfer to become part of the new town centre cleaning crew.

Councillor Alan Rhead, portfolio holder for environment and neighbourhood, said: “Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, Warwick District Council has a statutory duty to keep open spaces that are accessible to the general public free of litter and refuse so far as is practicable.

“Though the new scheme may not be as frequent as the town centre Barrow Operatives, it is sufficient to meet our duties under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and will still see our town centres cleaned regularly for the enjoyment of everyone.

“We will be regularly monitoring and inspecting the town centres to review their cleanliness with this new way of working.

“However, it is imperative that those visiting the town centres act responsibly by not dropping litter in the first place.

"If you find that a bin is full, please use another bin or take your rubbish home with you. We all have a responsibility to ensure that our town centres are free of litter.”