Paul and his colleagues target November to deep-clean Cherwell’s streets and parks

The falling of the leaves when Autumn changes to Winter is a time that means people’s thoughts turn to warm clothes and switching on the central heating.

Published: Monday, 18th November 2019

But for our parks and street cleaners it’s the time when they get to roll their sleeves up and do a really deep clean.

Paul Berry, who lives in Bloxham, has worked in the Street Cleaning Team at Cherwell District Council for more than a year and takes pride in the appearance of the Banbury parks that he cleans and tidies on a daily basis. The council does the work on behalf of Banbury Town Council own the parks.

Paul and his colleagues always pinpoint November as the time when the vegetation has died back enough for them to reach in to areas that they’ve not previously been able to access and undertake a really deep clean.

He said: “This is a really important time of year for us. The other week at Hastings Park in Banbury I was finally able to clean around a large area of stinging nettles that I’d not previously been able to tackle. Similarly there are areas of Spiceball Park in Banbury where there are brambles that we’ve only just recently been able to give a really proper clean up.”

Paul had previously worked as part of Cherwell District Council’s wider street-cleaning team and it was later that he was deployed as part of a smaller team dealing with the cleanliness of Banbury’s parks. Earlier this year when the council conducted its annual resident satisfaction survey, the cleanliness of streets and parks was one area of the council’s work that people highlighted as being important to them.

Paul said: “We empty the bins and generally clean and tidy the parks. We’ll report back to the office if we spot graffiti or if there are things I can’t pick up myself such as examples of fly-tipping. I cover Hastings Park, Spiceball Park, Easington Park and Moorfields Park and Trinity Park and other open spaces at sports fields like Hanwell Fields and Horton View.

“On a daily basis the general sense of job satisfaction comes from being able to look around a park when we’ve finished and know that we’ve left it in a much better condition than when we started and say ‘that looks awesome’. That’s the same all year around but especially in Summer when children are happily playing in the parks.

“Every day I want to do the best job I can. I go out of my way to make sure the place looks tidy and then I’ll go back the following day with the same attitude and do the same again. There’s no part of my job that I don’t like but there are niggles like when people have sprayed graffiti or thoughtlessly dropped a load of rubbish. Occasionally we’ll find items that we have to report to the Police. However, this is what we are here to do – we keep the place tidy on behalf of Cherwell District Council for the people who live in our area - and we enjoy doing it.

“I’ve been doing my current job now long enough now to know all of the regular dog-walkers and I’ll get a cheery “good morning Paul” from them. The dogs know me too and they’ll quite often bound up to me with their tales wagging.

“From a young age my parents used to take us on long walks, so I am a person who likes being outdoors and that has been a theme in all my jobs. We have the big waterproofs and warm clothes for the Winter ahead but I am quite thick-skinned about the weather. I enjoy working outside.

“We do put a lot of effort and dedication to keeping the area tidy and we’ll always take that approach to our work.”

Mike Hall, Recreation & Amenities Manager for Banbury Town Council, said: "Cherwell District Council's cleansing team are contracted by Banbury Town Council to undertake the litter picking, emptying of litter and dog bins of parks and open spaces within our ownership and have been doing so for nearly five years now. The cleansing team has provided a very good service, which has led to the contract being continued for the foreseeable future."