Wheelie bins 'shoved' upon us without much thought or planning

Mark Fairhurst outside Ebley Mill with the wheelie bin that he returned to SDC.

Mark Fairhurst outside Ebley Mill with the wheelie bin that he returned to SDC.

First published in Letters

MADAM - Mark Fairhurst has summed up the delivery of green wheelie bins by SDC, very well. They have been 'shoved' upon us without much thought or planning.

I was told by SDC that a survey was undertaken to identify properties, which could store the wheelie bins. I was also told that where it was not possible to store a wheelie bin or where a collection vehicle could not gain access through narrow streets and lanes in the area, a plastic netting bag would be provided as an alternative.

Probably like Mark Fairhurst, our son lives in a two bed property close to Tesco in Bussage and like 20 or 30 similar homes in the area, they have no room to store the wheelie bins. They have to stay outside the front of their property as an eyesore and a smelly hazard.

On the other hand we live in a listed converted church building along with a community of six other residents who are all keen on recycling. So keen in fact that for several years we all have had at least two recycle boxes each to separate glass, tins, plastic bottles and paper. Any cardboard has been taken by us to Horsely. When we saw the wheelie bin project, we all thought that on the surface it was a good idea.

When the conversion took place on France Church and Church Room some 23 years ago, to make two cottages and four luxury apartments plus a penthouse; a great deal of thought and some expense was taken, under the guidance from National Heritage, to enable rubbish bins to be hidden from sight in the front of this grade II listed property. A row of Cotswold stone built compartments were made to house dustbins/refuse and latterly of course recycling material in order that the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty was not marred by unsightly refuse containers.

When the wheelie bin project was communicated to us, we asked SDC for the dimensions of the wheelie bins and we were told they would be 38" tall. Just able to fit into the compartments. Yippee.

When the first and only wheelie bin arrived, for our community of seven residents, it was obviously taller than the 38" quoted to us and therefore would not fit into the compartments designed to store our refuse. We were lead to believe that an alternative was available (a plastic weighted bag) especially for residences where it was not possible to store a wheelie bin or it was not possible to collect by vehicle, the contents of the wheelie bin, due to H&S or road width restrictions. These are seen as special cases by SDC.

We are now told that we do not qualify for assessment as a special case?

I have now been informed that we have no option but to accept the seven green wheelie bins. It is the SDC view that the advantages of the wheelie bin scheme out way any aesthetic values of properties within SDC and that we will not be considered as a special case.

1. The properties are grade two listed and as such had to be modified to conform with being part of an area of outstanding natural beauty and of architectural interest.

2. Every effort was made to conform to National Heritage guidelines with the conversion, especially on the aesthetics of the finished building, its surrounds, gardens and communal space.

3. This included the upkeep of the graveyard at the front of the buildings; the Church clock and surrounding walled area. The sundial, the row of garages all painted within a range of colours accepted by National Heritage.

4. Rubbish/refuse etc had to hidden from view and compartments were built to accommodate. Doors all painted the same colour as garage doors.

5. The drive has to be maintained to an acceptable standard which includes one parking space for each resident and very little space for anything else A reply from Cllr Simon Pickering who is responsible for this recycling project, is toeing the same line as that of his team members. He has advised that because the wheelie bins are not attached to our listed property, they are not subject to National Heritage guidelines or to properties within an area of outstanding natural beauty or conservation.

What trip are these people on? We love our recycling prowess; we love the way our village looks and wish to keep it that way. We will keep recycling but we will not be rail roaded by SDC to accept something which is paid for by our taxes and not acceptable or appropriate.

Graham Brown Chalford Hill.

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