The owner of a plot of land on Purley Way where a huge amount of illegally fly-tipped waste is causing outrage among locals has said plans are being made to clean up the mess.

However, residents complain the Croydon site is "dangerous and unsightly" and should never have been allowed to get to this point.

One resident, named Esther, commented on X: “I’m horrified by this fly-tip every time I drive past it,” whilst another, Veronica, said: “This really is a disgrace.”

The site, which sits at the south end of the famous commercial thoroughfare, has attracted derision and disgust from Croydon locals, who can view the mess from the roadside.

The site’s low and damaged fence means would be fly-tippers are granted easy access to dispose of everything from mattresses and chairs, to Wendy houses and children’s toys.

The site, at 33 Imperial Way, was inhabited by a Sports Direct gym as late as Summer 2022.

However, since the gym’s closure, the site has become overrun with mountains of illegal waste, which people can readily add to, owing to its position next to a layby.

According to residents, the site’s position next to the Croydon Aerodrome memorial to the Battle of Britain and large area of playing fields makes it even more unsightly.

One pedestrian, who was walking to the nearby Costco, said: “It’s a stain on Croydon.”

However, a potential breakthrough could be in sight as the landowners have promised to take action.

The Purley registered Spark Properties LTD has promised the vacant plot, which was bought for £1million in January 2021, is in the process of being sold, and has a range of interest from potential buyers.

Despite this recent progress, Waddon councillors Rowenna Davies and Ellily Ponnuthurai say they have been ‘fighting for over a year to get it sorted’.

They told the LDRS in a joint statement: “This fly-tip is a dangerous and unsightly mess in our community that urgently needs clearing. 

“The freeholder has also expressed anger at illegal fly-tippers, and says they’re finalising a deal with new leaseholders that will see the fly-tip cleared in a matter of weeks. 

"We’ll do everything we can to support this horrific eyesore being cleared as fast as possible. Every second that mess remains there a child could get in and seriously hurt themselves. Fly-tipping remains a disgusting problem in Croydon as a whole.

“We need cheaper and easier ways for people to get rid of rubbish and robust enforcement action to catch and prosecute offenders. An irresponsible minority should not be allowed to get away with inflicting their garbage on the rest of us.”

They also referenced several complaints made to the Environment Agency, which can take legal action if an issue is not resolved.

Those found guilty of fly-tipping can face a fine of up to £50,000 (or unlimited if the case goes to the crown court) and a potential prison sentence of up to five years.

Residents believe the Purley Way site is symptomatic of a larger problem plaguing the borough.

Vacant lots from the borough’s metropolitan north to its leafy south have become targets for this illegal activity that is notoriously hard to police.

Litter Free Norbury, a campaign group that focuses on the issue, told the LDRS: “The bottom line is that the borough of Croydon is plagued by fly-tipping from all sorts.

"From the residents not wanting to recycle, to the industrial size fly-tip like this one. 

“There are also rogue waste removal companies, rogue landlords, and even local businesses without any waste management contract i.e a few restaurants.

"Cost cutting exercises from all sides, as well as rising costs just make it worse. All in all, greed is the cause of this issue and hopefully people will understand that we should not compromise on our environment.”

While the Purley Way site is not owned by the council, residents feel they have options available to them which could prevent future fly-tipping in the borough. Cameras are one solution commonly offered by concerned residents.

A representative from Litter Free Norbury told the LDRS: “A mobile CCTV/ANPR would find the culprits easily as this waste is brought by vans most likely. 

"This has been a method taken on by the neighbouring Merton council, which recently allocated budget funding for new CCTV to monitor crime hotspots across the borough.”

Croydon Council’s current policy on fly-tipping encourages residents to report incidents on the affiliated Love Clean Streets app or call the environmental team on 020 8726 6200.

On its website, Croydon Council clarifies: “Clearing fly-tipping from private land is the responsibility of the landowner. If you need our help, we will charge you for the service.” 

Croydon Council was approached for comment but declined, saying it’s a matter for the Environment Agency.