A row has erupted over who is responsible for clearing up to 30 tyres dumped outside the gates of a historic church in Newton-le-Willows.
Emmanuel Wargrave Church’s vicar, Rev Val Hughes, reported the fly-tipping to St Helens Council last week but was told it was not the authority’s responsibility because the tyres were dumped on private land.
The land does not belong to the church, which was built in 1841, but it is not clear who owns the land.
Rev Hughes has described the council’s decision as “unfair” and says she will be appealing.
“The rubbish which is a terrible eyesore has been left blocking the car park of the church in a road used by local people as a public pathway, a cut through to Stephenson Road,” she said.
“I was shocked to be told by the St Helens Council helpline, that the council would do nothing to remove the offending items.
How can it be right that a small elderly congregation has to bear the brunt of this anti-social behaviour?Rev Val Hughes
“How can it be right that a small elderly congregation has to bear the brunt of this anti-social behaviour?” added Rev Val, who has been vicar of two churches in Newton for more than seven years.
“We are contacting our local councillor to appeal this unfair decision. I only hope it can be resolved speedily before Sunday worship and before families arrive next week for the funerals of their loved ones.”
St Helens Council say removing the rubbish is not their responsibility but are now attempting to locate the landowner.
A council spokesperson said: “We take the issue of fly-tipping very seriously and always seek to clear waste on council-maintained land.
“However, unfortunately in this case, the council does not have responsibility for clearing the tyres, since the land does not belong to us.
“The council will now undertake an investigation into who dumped the tyres and begin land registry enquiries in order to establish the details of the landowner, whose legal responsibility it will be to remove the waste.
“Anyone with information that could help us to determine the perpetrator is encouraged to come forward by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01744 676299.”