SOLIHULL SUPERMARKET: Trolleys found in waterway near Chelmsley Wood
A supermarket is facing fresh calls to take action after more than 30 shopping trolleys were dumped in a short stretch of Solihull river.
The council’s landscape team recently revealed that dozens of the carts had been spotted in the water in just a 40 metre stretch of Kingshurst Brook, Chelmsley Wood.
Questioning whether this was “a world record” they said something needed to be done to tackle the problem, which spoils the look of a popular walking spot and poses a risk to wildlife.
The Asda store, in nearby Chelmsley town centre, is now being urged to consider systems to make it harder to take them off site – or to carry out regular checks of the surrounding area.
Cllr Chris Williams (Green, Chelmsley Wood) said there had been long-running problems with some carts being thrown in local waterways or abandoned in surrounding streets, but he had seen many more recently.
“It felt like they were breeding,” he said.
“I don’t know why all of a sudden it has got so much worse, unless someone just thinks it’s fun to take them out of Asda car park.”
He said it was a shame to see the problem blighting areas which had become a valuable escape for many residents on the surrounding housing estate.
Only recently it was announced that the river valley would benefit from the Love Your River Cole Project – which has received a £705,000 grant from government and is being spearheaded by the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust.
The green corridor – which runs from Birmingham city centre to rural Warwickshire – will see a number of improvements at key locations including Meriden Park and Castle Bromwich Hall Park and Gardens.
On the problems the trolleys posed, Cllr Williams said: “They are just an eyesore, they stick out like a sore thumb when they are in the river.
“Many people really value their green spaces – more than ever during lockdown.
“Walking there is often the one thing they look forward to each day and [seeing this] really spoils the view and spoils that experience.”
He said he would be keen for supermarkets to take more responsibility for the issue and carry out regular sweeps of the surrounding area.
Others have urged Asda to introduce wheel lock technology to disable carts and make it harder to take them outside the confines of the car park.
Local litterpicking group Clean and Green said it had tried to engage with the retailer “umpteen times” without success.
Although those who had dumped the trolleys were also condemned for their behaviour on social media.
One man said: “The only people to blame are the anti-social yobs who don’t mind turning where they live into a cesspit.”
As long ago as 2012, Solihull Council had published an action-plan on trolleys – revealing at the time that rangers were having to recover up to 30 a month.
Although the following year saw the launch of the nationwide Trolleywise scheme, which allows residents to flag incidents so that teams can be dispatched to retrieve the carts.
The landscape team said the latest problem – which they described as “costly anti-social behaviour” – had been reported via the smartphone app and the Environment Agency had also been notified.
An Asda spokesman said: “Whilst we know that the majority of our customers look after our trolleys, if anyone does happen to spot one of our trolleys anywhere they shouldn’t be they can let us know by calling 01926 455378 or by downloading the Trolleywise app so the trolley can be collected as soon as possible.”
When the issue of improved security measures was raised on Twitter, the supermarket’s customer service team suggested it took local feedback on board when deciding policies.
Words: David Irwin, Local Democracy Reporter
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