FLY-TIPPING, derelict properties and housing complaints have led Swindon to rank among the dirtiest areas in the UK.
Research by building materials supplier Buildworld used these three factors to calculate the cleanest and dirtiest parts of the country, with our city not ranked highly.
But Swindon Borough Council questioned the credibility of the website’s methods and said more was being done to catch fly tippers in the town.
Research claims that in 2019-20 there were two reported fly spill incidents near homes per 10,000 people as well as six reports of dirty, abandoned or wormy properties per 10,000 people between 2016 and 2020, as well as 568 Google searches for ‘common household problems per 10,000 people.
The population of Swindon is approximately 222,000 people.
The borough came 15th in the table with an overall score of 3.05, just above Oxford (3.04) and below Ipswich, Watford and Bristol, along with Liverpool (6.74), Plymouth (6.44) and Blackpool (4.89) lead the standings.
On the other hand, Brighton and Hove (1.66), Gloucester (1.83) and Southend-on-Sea (1.92) are ranked as the cleanest areas in the UK.
A Builddworld spokesperson said: “House prices are driven by a range of factors. The top three things people look for when buying a new home are location, cost, and condition, with cost largely determined by the other two factors.
“What you can’t change is the location of your property. Depending on where you live, you could sell an almost identical property for a fraction of its objective value.
“While local amenities like schools and transport links can boost a property’s value, negative factors like crime rates and the perceived cleanliness of an area can drive them down.
“With that in mind, we were curious to find out which parts of the country have the worst problems when it comes to local cleanliness, so we conducted a study.”
Between May 31, 2021 and January 31, 2022, 64 people were fined by the council for illegally littering Swindon.
Councilor Kevin Parry is a Cabinet Member of Swindon Borough Council for Service Delivery, Waste and Transport.
He said: “I think we have to be careful about the credibility of this national publicity research being carried out by a private construction and renovation company based in Leicester.
“As part of compiling the rankings, the company looked at residents’ Google searches for terms like ‘dirty houses’, which I don’t think most people would consider credible evidence.
“Some of the data considered in the research dates back to 2016. Meanwhile, the ongoing crackdown on fly tipping has resulted in 64 fines being imposed on people between May 2021 and the end of January this year.
“We have already introduced mobile cameras in the city center to catch offenders and we plan to deploy more cameras in rural areas in the summer.”