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Ipswich: Insurance giant Direct Line comes under fire from neighbours over cigarette butts

PUBLISHED: 06:28 26 June 2014

Smokers' rubbish outside Direct Line's offices in Ipswich.

Smokers' rubbish outside Direct Line's offices in Ipswich.

Archant

One of the largest insurance companies in Ipswich has come under attack from its neighbours over the state of its smoking area and the mess caused by stressed employees desperate for a fag.

Direct Line Insurance has a large office at Giles Place on Princes’ Street. At the back of the office, in Coytes Gardens, there is a small piece of land designated as a “smoking area” for staff.

There are smoking bins for dog-ends on the wall, but one of these is broken – and it is clear that many staff prefer to leave their stubs on the ground.

The cigarette ends have been blown around the cobbles of Coytes Gardens, which is one of the oldest streets in the town centre.

Now a local resident has written to the company on behalf of herself and other residents in the area after approaches to the management at the building failed to get a significant improvement.

Her letter says: “As you will know I have contacted you on several occasions regarding the appalling state of the designated ‘smoking area’ at the Direct Line Group premises located at Giles Place.”

She adds: “We would like this area to become a non-smoking zone (as they have in parts of London). In the summer, we struggle to open our windows and French doors due to the volume of smokers and noise from the employees of the DLG premises.”

Although the smoking area itself is on Direct Line property, Ipswich council is responsible for keeping the road clean and after we contacted them they sent street cleaners to clear the cigarette butts from the cobbles.

A spokesman for the company said: “Direct Line Group are aware of the concerns by local residents regarding the smoking area of our Princes Street office.

“We have been liaising with the local council regarding this matter and have their full support in remedying this situation including the installation of an agreed smoking enclosure.

“Unfortunately while we clean the area on a regular basis, it has been the target for vandalism and other anti-social behaviour, a matter that is being dealt with by the relevant authorities.”

He said the company had purchased three bins that are more robust and would be installed over the coming days and that cleaning patrols had been increased.

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