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Carboot sales: Haringey Football Ground

The weekly carboot sales held on the Haringey Borough Football Ground, at White Hart Lane N17, have proved an interesting experiment, but also a disaster for the environmental quality of the entire Devonshire Hill neighbourhood.

The carboot sale revenue gained by Haringey Football Ground must no longer be offset by the immediate and real costs to both the council and the local community.

Every operating business enjoys income, but must also bear expenses. Foisting those expenses onto an unwilling third party is neither just, fair, nor ethical.

From Friday to Sunday each week, neighbouring roads are now subjected to a routine barrage of dumping, primarily of unwanted goods from the sale. White Hart Lane and the nearby footpath look more like rubbish tips than public rights of way. The neighbouring allotment gardens are filled with smaller items of rubbish, and the Haringey Football Ground bus stop is piled weekly with abandoned bags and boxes.

These heaps and mounds of rubbish are unsightly, bring vermin and other health risks in the case of rotting food items, erode the sense of neighbourhood pride, and directly cost the council – and thus taxpayers – considerable amounts of money and labour to clean up.

Perhaps this sounds like an exaggeration. Consider the photos here, which were taken on a Monday morning in April and represent a fraction of the typical rubbish load. Suitcases and baby buggies, used to transport goods to the sale, are a common item of refuse. Broken toys and electronics, much of which cannot safely be disposed of in the household waste stream, are also common.

Unwanted merchandise is frequently abandoned directly beneath the lamp posts on the footpath to Devonshire Hill Lane, where people have gone through the bags at night before walking away.


Since the clientele of the sales appear unwilling to stop this wholesale dumping, since passive solutions such as the placing of skips are unlikely to attract requisite use, since signage is roundly ignored, and since policing is unfeasible, there are two basic solutions to this odious problem.

Option 1:

The Haringey Borough Football Club must actively employ a team of cleaners, from Friday through Monday, to remove all the mess as it happens. Allowing the rubbish to pile up all weekend is little different from the situation at present and thus is not a workable compromise.

That this option will reduce the overall revenue of the football ground is irrelevant, since at present the sales are simply transferring externalised costs elsewhere.

Option 2:

The Haringey Borough Football Club’s carboot sale should be terminated immediately as a failed and unsuitable experiment.

It should be noted that the sales have other significant drawbacks. They cause long traffic jams most of the weekend (since White Hart Lane on weekends is choked with cars parking illegally on the yellow line; a situation also not policed by the football ground), do not provide any significant material benefits for local residents, and appear to be used as a notable marketplace for the trafficking in stolen goods.

But the dumping of rubbish is at least a clearcut problem that could be addressed by the football ground, if it chose to, without eliminating the carboot sales entirely.