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Market trader says he is forced to clean up human poo near stall twice a day


By Jacob Phillips, local democracy reporter

A trader has called Soho an “al fresco loo” as he claims he has been forced to clean up human poo and used condoms twice a day.

Robin Smith, who runs Soho Dairy in Berwick Street Market, has to wash down the street near his stall every morning as it is covered in human excrement.

Party-goers regularly use a nearby alleyway, where Robin has a storage unit, as a toilet and in the summer the amount of mess increases dramatically.

Robin said: “Every morning you have to stand in a puddle of p***. The stench is all around you.

“We get used to it in summer because it’s become so normal. It’s unfortunate to the extreme. It’s an al fresco loo.”

When the Local Democracy Reporting Service spoke to Robin, he had already witnessed someone using the alleyway as a urinal in broad daylight that morning on September 8.

The mess has got so bad Robin has had to change the lock on his storage unit so he can open it quicker and spend less time standing in excrement.

The business owner has called on Westminster City Council to increase the number of portaloos in the area and more regularly clean the streets.

Robin added: “We are a food business so we have to wash it out. They don’t properly wash the streets any more.

Market trader says he is forced to clean up human poo near stall twice a day
Robin Smith

“When you come in the morning the streets are filthy and there is human waste.”

The council has recently increased the number of temporary toilets in the West End from 12 urinals to 18 urinals and 12 portaloos to help try and tackle the Soho wide problem.

The toilets are open to the public from Friday evening until Monday morning as well as during bank holidays and during major events.

But still, the problem has taken over Soho with residents in neighbouring Great Chapel Street having to shoo away party-goers using their doorstep as a toilet at 2pm.

A Great Chapel Street resident who did not wish to be named, said: “There are lines of p*** all the way down the street.

“People are literally p******up someone’s front door. All of Soho stinks of p***.”

Westminster City Council has encouraged anyone who sees any incidents of public urination or defecation to report it to the council.

A spokesperson said: “Any incidents of public urination and defecation are unacceptable and we absolutely share residents’ concerns about this issue.

“The council takes a zero-tolerance approach to this and will respond to any complaints as quickly as possible.

“Westminster City Council runs a first-class, 24/7 service to ensure our streets are kept clean and safe.

“We have also significantly increased temporary public toilet provision in recent months across the West End, and extra provision is also in place for Bank Holidays and major events.

“Our city Inspectors are in the area each day and will report any incidents of public urination or defecation to our street cleansing teams to be removed urgently.”

You can report incidents of public urination or defection in Westminster here.

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