Labour Party gets ‘flytipping’ warning after Greenwich councillor’s documents found in Eltham street

Eltham Labour offices, 3 November 2016

Eltham Labour Party has been given a warning over flytipping after a councillor’s personal documents were found dumped by the side of its offices on Westmount Road.

Election posters and personal documents in the name of Peninsula ward councillor Chris Lloyd were found dumped on Greenvale Road, Eltham, by the side gate of the party’s constituency HQ.

Lloyd vehemently denies any involvement in the incident, and says he believes a “good Samaritan” left the items outside the party office after finding them in a previous home of his.

This website has seen correspondence which confirms Greenwich Council has written to the Eltham Labour Party to remind it of its responsibilities when dealing with rubbish after repeated complaints over items being left outside the office.

Eltham North, the council ward where the incident took place, faces a council by-election this Thursday, with the Conservatives aiming to regain a seat they lost to Labour in 2014.

Dumped rubbish in Eltham, August 2016

The incident happened in August, when local resident Nick Craddy – who acts as an “environment champion” for the area – discovered piles of items left on Greenvale Road.

They included a bilingual election poster for Lloyd’s attempt to become the MP for Brecon and Radnorshire, mid-Wales, in the 2010 general election.

Lloyd, who is originally from Knighton, a town in the constituency, came third in the election; a result he repeated in the Welsh Assembly election the following year, where he failed to unseat then-Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams. The former Greenwich University student was elected Peninsula councillor in 2014.

The items also included correspondence about a TV licence in Lloyd’s name, addressed to him at a student halls of residence in Deptford, as well as an induction pack for those halls.

Dumped rubbish in Eltham

Craddy told 853 he had spotted rubbish dumped on Greenvale Road “for quite a long time” after a tenant had moved into the flat above the Labour office.

But after Craddy arranged for the tenant to be supplied with recycling bins, the problem continued. He said he had spoken to people in the office, who “got sniffy” when he suggested they clean the rubbish up.

“One day, I walked down there, and lo and behold, there was a wodge of Welsh Labour posters out there,” he said.

‘I phoned [local Conservative councillor] Spencer Drury up, he came down with his camera, and we thought ‘gotcha’.

“Someone in the Labour office must have spotted us, because when I walked back from the shop after, there was a man taking it inside.

“The rubbish must have been there for 24, if not 48 hours.”

‘I’m not in the habit of leaving TV licences in the street’

Lloyd, who lives in Thamesmead, vehemently denies any involvement in how the items made their way to Eltham.

He told this website he believed someone who moved into an old address of his left the box there in an attempt to get his belongings back to him: “I used to live in a place in west Greenwich – I haven’t lived there for six years – and must have left a box of stuff in the attic.

“This person has tried to get it back to me, and it’s found its way to the Eltham Labour office. The day it was put out there, it was taken inside. But not before Cllr Drury walked by and got a picture.

“I had a call from someone in the Eltham office, telling me they came into work and found a box of my stuff. It was taken to the Greenwich office and it’s now in the boot of my car.”

Asked how the items were taken to Eltham when he lives in and represents a ward in the Greenwich & Woolwich constituency, he said: “Why it ended up in Eltham, I have no idea. I’m not in the habit of leaving old TV licences and bank statements in the street.”

Fly-tipping crackdown

The incident came as Greenwich Council launched a crackdown on flytipping in the borough. The council can now fine offenders £400 – a power first used in September on a trader based on Plumstead Road. Two more fines have been issued since, also in the Plumstead area.

More resources have also been put into street-cleaning services in Plumstead, Charlton and Abbey Wood.

Correspondence seen by this website states that a senior Greenwich Labour councillor gave council officers the name of an individual who it was believed had left the items at the side of the office.

But the individual concerned denied all knowledge of the incident, leaving council officers to conclude they had no evidence on which to take any further action beyond sending a letter to the Labour office and residents in the accommodation above “reminding them of their responsibilities in relation to managing their waste”.

Spencer Drury, who has been pursuing the incident since it took place, said the way it was handled cast doubt on the council’s ability to deal with those who dump rubbish.

He told 853: “The warning is fine if you’re consistent. But if every single person says ‘it wasn’t me, it was someone down the road’ – how will they fine anyone? If we all use that as an excuse, presumably you can’t fine anyone.”

What does Greenwich Council say?

A spokesperson for Greenwich Council said: “Back in the summer there were some incidences of flytipping and discarded waste around the Greenvale Road area of Eltham.

“At the time the Council wrote to local businesses and residents in the immediate area reminding them of how to dispose of waste correctly.

“We continue to regularly inspect the area and are pleased to report that there have been no further incidences of discarded waste that have come to our attention.

“No one local business/proprietor was singled out when the group of locals were written to at the time.”

Eltham Labour did not respond to a request for comment.

By-election spice

The row adds spice to a rare thing in Greenwich borough politics – a genuinely close by-election in Eltham North. While Labour seized two out of three seats in 2014 – their first ever success in the area –  Eltham North voters backed Zac Goldsmith in May’s mayoral poll, and sided with leaving the European Union in June’s referendum.

The poll was called after Labour’s Wynn Davies – one of the few on the council to openly support Jeremy Corbyn’s re-election bid this summer, and by all accounts a hard-working councillor – moved out of the area due to a change in personal circumstances. This website understands he resisted pressure to stay in the seat and represent voters from his new home in Shropshire, avoiding the awkward poll.

Labour is standing popular local party stalwart Simon Peirce, who came fifth in 2014’s poll. The Tories have gone for youth in the shape of 22-year-old activist Charlie Davis. Ukip, who split the vote in 2014,  have picked Lee-based Barbara Ray. The Liberal Democrats will be testing their hopes of a revival by fielding Sam Macaulay, who only joined the party in July.

But it’s the Greens who have raised eyebrows by fielding someone who stood as a Conservative candidate in the Glyndon by-election in May.

Matt Browne, who used to be involved with Tory thinktank Bright Blue, says he decided to jump ship after the EU referendum. “Over six years, as a very, very small cog in the Conservative machine, I saw that warm words weren’t enough,” he said. “On the grim morning of June 24th, I had definitive proof.”

Do a few dumped election posters matter?

Nick Craddy

While few will make as huge a political leap as Matt Browne, the ongoing consequences of the EU referendum will probably have a bigger impact on those who turn up to vote in Eltham North on Thursday than a row about some stuff dumped outside the Labour Party offices.

But you would expect the borough’s governing party to be a little bit more careful with its rubbish.

Thankfully for the residents of Greenvale Road, Nick Craddy (pictured above) remains an environment champion. The voluntary role sees him help pick up rubbish, liaise with the council and talk to neighbours about litter problems.

“I enjoy it – I’ve lived in this street for 30 years and I’ve spoken to neighbours I’ve never spoken to before. And once the street’s clean – it stays clean.”

And despite the embarrassment for Labour politicians, there has been a good result from all this – Craddy says the flytipping has stopped in Greenvale Road. “You could eat your dinner off the pavement now.”

To report flytipping in Greenwich (or anywhere else), visit fixmystreet.com or download its smartphone app. For more about becoming an environment champion, visit the Greenwich Council website.

13 comments

  1. Chris Lloyd

    Hi folks. This is a bizarre incident all round! Thanks for giving me a heads up Darryl. As I told you, I have no idea how my old uni papers from 2007 and my election posters from 2010 ended up in Eltham! They weren’t the ones from 2011 as I had a different election agent. As a point of correction, I lived in central Greenwich until my election in 2014. I had not lived in that particular address where I must have left the boxes since 2010.

  2. Trevor Allman

    Interesting to see Greenwich Green Party have continued the trend they set in the 2015 General Election by fielding an opportunist candidate who has recently jumped ship from another political party.
    They clearly haven’t learnt the error of selecting the opportunist James Parker for the Eltham constituency (not to mention the opportunist Abi Akinoshun in Greenwich & Woolwich constituency, who at the time of nomination, hadn’t even attended a Green Party branch meeting before) who had stood as a candidate for more political parties than some people have had hot dinners, who went on to defect back to the Labour Party on the eve of the 2015 General Election and encouraged people not to vote for the Green Party.
    It’s sad to see what Greenwich Green Party has become, after the years of hard work that a handful of dedicated activists, including myself, had achieved over the years, but it corresponds with the awful term of leadership of Natalie Bennett, which saw the party become totally opportunist in its attempts to get anyone elected, no matter what their politics or track record (or lack of it) within the Green Party.
    A very sad state of affairs.

  3. Chris Lloyd

    …….and at least everyone knows that I was up-to-date with my TV licence while I was a student. I suspect that I was in the minority!

  4. Matt Browne

    Great piece, thanks for the mention Darryl!

    Just to respond to Trevor’s comment, going from being a candidate for a Party at 40% in the polls to one at 5% can be called many things, but not really opportunism….

    It was a genuine conversion to a different sort of politics and I look forward to campaigning for Greenwich Greens (we are in great and happy shape) in the Borough for years to come.

  5. Andy

    Fly tipping is antisocial, nasty and expensive to clear up.But there is another issue here. We get told every day to take care of our personal information because of the perils of i.d fraud. here on the face of it we have someone in a position of public trust who must get a lot of other confidential material put their way, apparently having been a bit careless with their own details. Let us hope that lessons will be learned.

  6. Darryl

    Andy – I think this is a key issue. To be clear, there was nothing relating to Chris Lloyd’s work for the council – this was all old stuff. But yes, I hope lessons have been learned here too.

  7. Pineapple Poll

    Respect to Andy and Darryl for highlighting a serious implication of this peculiar situation, but you both seem too kind and forgiving on this.Just what can account for someone’s old junk lying about for years and then ending up as a fly tip miles away? That aside, I found the Councillor’s response above glib, flippant and too casual by half. I looked him up on the council website, and if the picture is up to date maybe he has age and inexperience to blame, with a chance to learn a lot. But that being so, why is he one big noise on the overview and scrutiny panels, that monitor good governance (such as risk, financial value etc.)? You just could not make this up. LOL or be very afraid?

  8. Nick Craddy

    As the guy who started all this, I have to admit I had not thought of the very valid points that Andy makes, probably because as Darryl has said all the identifying paperwork was well out of date. However, as Pineapple also says it does also point to a certain lackadaisical attitude in every aspect of the entire story.
    I’m very surprised that the incident has been so softly dealt with, and possibly swept under the carpet – or should I say pavement.
    I dislike political attitudes of the type where the people in power tell us what to do and how to behave, and then handily decide that this of course does not apply to them.
    RBG should have fined someone for this, and I can’t help but feel that as it was one of their own it got quietly dropped.
    Move along please, nothing to see here, be about your business

  9. Darryl

    For those interested, the Tories won the by-election by 38 votes:

    http://www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk/info/1000/elections_-_results/1858/by-election_results_for_eltham_north_ward_2016

    http://www.greenwichconservatives.com/news/1810

    I’m up to my eyeballs with other stuff, but if it stays (or becomes) interesting I might write something about it next week. (Spoiler alert: Labour will probably blame Momentum having a meeting that night rather than anything to do with their own actions.)

    To answer Nick’s point, I think this is one of those things that’s easy for some to write off – “oh, who cares, it’s just political tittle-tattle”. The publisher of an Eltham-based magazine has been on this website claiming that’s what this site is full of, and I suspect that’s why they’ve not followed this up. That’s their choice (the page views on this story have hardly been stellar compared with the fireworks tale, for example) but if I lived in Greenvale Road, I’d probably disagree, particularly if I’d believed fly-tipping had long been a problem there. I also know the News Shopper and Mercury were both offered the story, but didn’t run it (although AFAIK that was before the council sent the letter to the Eltham Labour party).

    But if a councillor’s campaign materials, including stuff featuring their name in bloody big letters, appears to have been dumped on the street, then that’s a matter of public interest because it raises all sorts of questions (even if the councillor concerned is able to answer them); particularly when the council is very obviously struggling to deal with litter and street cleanliness in parts of the borough (my own street went three weeks without a sweep recently, and trying to get it sorted becomes a war of attrition). I think it’s worrying when local reporters don’t feel able to raise this, don’t have the local knowledge to pick up on this, or don’t feel an argument like this is of interest. But that’s probably an argument about the slow death of local old media and the loss of experience rather than anything dark and suspicious about dealings in the local Labour establishment.

  10. Chris Lloyd

    Hi Darryl. A fair write up in your final post. However, I am concerned by some of the comments others have made. If anyone has evidence of some kind of cover up I would urge them to contact the Chief Exec of the Council or the police; this is an incredibly serious accusation that I contest in the strongest terms possible.The same applies to insinuations that I have somehow been careless with confidential council casework (I note Darryl did not do this, but other have). If anyone has any evidence of this then I suggest that they contact the Information Commissioner or the Chief Exec. I accept that there has been local interest in this story and that my accidental carelessness while moving house 6 years ago (leaving a box) has not showered me in glory but this is rapidly changing into something else.

  11. Pineapple Poll

    What accusations have been made? All I can see is the valid concerns of some members of the tax paying classes who fund the political infrastructure that all politicians belong to. One of the costs of political ambition is that past and present actions are put under the spotlight and are open to comment and criticism. As a long time follower of 853 I have read things about local politicians that have been really savage. The people posting here have noted the errors of judgement, NOT crimes so why talk of the police or the Information Commissioner? That is actually quite a silly challenge. Voters are entitled to ask questions and seek reassurance that lessons have indeed been learned by those who are in positions of public responsibility. That’s what it’s all about.
    Someone else has made the point that if HIS details had been found in a fly tip he could have expected to have been traced and held accountable. In this case there is no information that I have been able to find that tells the public anything. It is perfectly valid to want to know the outcome of this.
    I don’t think there is any conspiracy going on against any individual. If there is I am not part of it. But politicians at all levels need to man (or woman) up and accept that being open to questions about their actions and decisions is the downside of the public life they have embraced.