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Friday 7 October 2011
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Bad Stench from Wheelie Bin full of Raw Meat

Council chief executive Ruth Bagley stays silent; her staff say no problem

Report and photographs: Paul Janik

Shoppers, residents and the public walking along the southern end of Slough's Stoke Road have been smelling the horrible stench of rotting meat or dead bodies for several years.

Some wrongly assume the cause is the local sewage works at Wood Lane on the borough's south-western fringe. Others equally wrongly think the cause is the nearby chicken and chips shop, aptly named the Chicken Ranch, in the borough's historic Leopold Coffee House premises at number 21.

The source is an innocently looking Woking Council (in Surrey) wheelie bin.

Proudly displaying Woking Council's telephone number on the lid, an easy to read barcode on the side and the council's coat-of-arms on the front, the wheelie bin is full of unrefrigerated rotting meat.

Left unattended for 4 days before the putrefying meat is collected, the stench is often unbearable particularly in the hot weather when temperatures can reach 30°C.

The local authority, Slough Borough Council, assert there is no problem but admit council staff have visited the scene 5 times responding to smelly complaints.

Next to the Woking Council bin, easy for Slough Council inspectors to see, is a red Reading Borough Council wheelie bin with a sticker proclaiming Category 3 Material. Not for Human Consumption.

The rubbish strewn area, the unpleasant stench and the stories of giant rats told by local people, dissuaded us from looking to see if the second red bin was from another local council.

The dark grey Woking bin is against the south wall of 23 Stoke Road, home of Goodman Accountants. We asked them whether the rotting meat was connected to their business. They said it belonged to a meat shop two doors further along the road at number 27, La Kasbah.

We asked the Chicken & Chips shop at number 21 if the Woking Council bin full of rotting meat belonged to them. They strenuously denied it. They said they thought the bin was connected to the food shop at number 27.

We asked other local businesses and residents if they knew who was responsible for the waste meat stinking-out the neighbourhood. Everyone said La Kasbah.

La Kasbah is at the northern end of the short terrace, at number 27.

In the 1970's the shop was the Spud Centre selling sacks of potatoes; a bargain for anyone with a car. When the business closed in 1994, the retail premises became dormant until 2003 when it re-opened as a bookshop.

In 2005 La Kasbah opened as a combined delicatessen and butchers. Rotting meat stench complaints started shortly after.