‘Students are turning our neighbourhood into a tip’ - locals in Selly Oak in Birmingham speak out

People living in Selly Oak, Birmingham, speak out about mountains of waste left behind by students at the end of each academic year

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Residents have blasted students who turn their suburb into "a tip" each year by dumping piles of rubbish in the street at the end of university.

Graduates and undergraduates are being blamed for leaving festering mountains of waste as they move out at the end of their studies in the Selly Oak area of Birmingham. The suburb is a student heartland for those attending the University of Birmingham and hundreds of young people live in multi-occupancy terraced houses in the area.

But locals say students along Exeter Road and Hubert Road fly-tip trash on an annual basis, which leaves the streets stinking and leads to an invasion of rats. Fire bosses have also previously warned students about causing a "fire and health hazard" by failing to dispose of their litter properly.

And shocking photos taken this week show piles of rubbish bags on the streets, with items of furniture including chairs, mattresses, tables and doors. Wheelie bins can also be seen overflowing while other waste is simply discarded on doorsteps, on the pavement or down alleyways.

Families living nearby say they have to keep their children indoors during the summer months due to the mess left behind by students. Dad-of-four Tariq Abdelhossein, 39, who lives nearby, said: "They leave it looking an absolute tip and it has turned into a yearly event.

"At this time of the year I refuse to let my children play outside because it’s a health hazard and attracts rats. You would think they would take some pride in the place they have called home for several years but they leave it looking like a slum."

Litter and construction scatter the streets of Selly Oak, BirminghamLitter and construction scatter the streets of Selly Oak, Birmingham
Litter and construction scatter the streets of Selly Oak, Birmingham

Another local, who wished to remain anonymous, said residents are often left to clear up the rubbish themselves. They said: "To be honest, it’s bad all year round - there’s bottles of booze left in the streets most weeks and the parking is a nightmare too.

"But it does get worse around this time of the year when they begin to move out. We’ll get a second wave of it in a few weeks when the rest move home. It really smells as well on warm days, it’s disgraceful really. You can’t get a pushchair down the street without having to go around bins or piles of rubbish.

"You would think the landlords or the university itself would try to intervene but it keeps on happening and it’s the people who live here who sometimes have to clean it up. They don’t even pay council tax so they aren’t even helping fund the bin men who do eventually come out to get it."

West Midlands Fire Service previously warned students about the dangers of leavingrubbish behind. Bournbrook Fire Station tweeted: "Students please dispose of rubbish properly when you move out, its a fire and health hazard, please also park responsibly, luckily not responding at time."

Watch commander Dave Clark said previously: "It is a seasonal issue for us and there’s a big risk of an increase in secondary rubbish fires. We talk to bodies like the Guild of Students at the University of Birmingham and they do try to take it seriously. It’s why we tweet pictures out, because the students are more likely to see them that way. The rubbish becomes a massive eyesore. The problem is the sheer amount of rubbish which can lead to rats."

Litter and construction scatter the streets of Selly Oak, BirminghamLitter and construction scatter the streets of Selly Oak, Birmingham
Litter and construction scatter the streets of Selly Oak, Birmingham

The university’s own guidance advises students about their responsibilities when moving into properties ahead of starting their courses. In a ‘moving in’ guide, they say: "You should bear in mind that ‘your’ conductwhilst living in the community reflects on the University and students as a whole. The University may take a robust approach to dealing with situations where students, either individually or as a group, are bringing the University and its reputation into disrepute"

Under a list of things which would be deemed antisocial behaviour they include: "People dumping rubbish and abandoning cars." They add: "Don’t forget to put your rubbish out on the right day, keep the streets tidy. Rubbish can attract vermin, insects, and other pests, and is also unsightly. As a tenant you, and not the landlord, are responsible for making sure all yourhousehold waste is disposed of properly and legally."