It was back in 2015 that I first started having issues with the communal bins in the maisonettes where I live. Due to having had major spinal surgery in 2010 I have mobility issues that make raising my and above shoulder heigh painful and mobility issues that can make moving heavy objects impossible. Unfortunately, the communal bins are large and heavy, and require either climbing the internal stairs to a small chute or opening a large, heavy, steel door for access for larger objects. Simple access to waste disposal facilities was difficult and painful at best, and due to the bin’s position at the top of a concrete slope dangerous in wet or icy conditions.
After years of complaining without progress 2021 became a transformative year. Changes within Peaks & Plains saw a new contact for my complaints in Caren Breddy and bit by bit a plan took shape. Although the impact of the bin situation was personal, I was aware that I was far from the only one who had potential issues. The same difficulties applied to anyone with the same or similar mobility issues whether through disability or age. What further exacerbated it for me was the proximity to the communal bin door, with vermin becoming an issue whenever the bins overflowed – and this was happening on a weekly basis at least.
The issues were that access was difficult, painful and at times dangerous, but it was also costly to Peaks & Plains with a team having to come out to deal with the overflow on a weekly basis and often more than once a week. Complaining had proved pointless but a solution that worked for both the Trust and the tenants was available, and in Caren there was a receptive member of the Trust.
Finding a solution
With eight homes in each block the bins were already too small to cope with the needs of each block, particularly as home deliveries increased as Covid struck. The solution was, to me, blindingly obvious. By allowing the ground floor tenants to change to a standard bin it would solve the issues of access for disabled and elderly residents while simultaneously reducing the volume going into the communal bin – and thus the overflow issues and their associated costs. It was a win-win idea.
Working with partners
Caren picked up the ball and ran with it. Such a fundamental change required getting Cheshire East Council and waste collectors ANSA on board, but over a period of 6 months progress was made until in December 2021 I became the first of the ground floor tenants of the maisonettes to receive a black wheelie bin. The bin would be in my garden, from where I have access to the kerbside, and once collections started in January 2022 we started an evaluation period to see how it works. To date it’s been a total success. I have access to something that everyone else takes for granted and I’m delighted to notice that the overflow problems also seem to have disappeared.
A long road – but a fresh approach
This, of course, is just the start. The option is, I believe, being rolled out to the other ground floor tenants of maisonettes throughout Upton Priory and in time we hope the single black bin will become the full range of green, grey and black bins. We’ll be able to join the rest of the town in recycling, making a difference to the environment, while reducing costs to our landlords and improving our quality of life.
It’s been a long road and it’s required patience, but it’s also been an important demonstration of the changes within Peaks & Plains over recent years.
Working together solutions can be found to issues that have held us back, and at last it feels like tenants’ voices are being heard.
We are considering other sites, where this approach might work, on a case-by-case basis.
Like David, you can use your voice to shape our services
We are delighted that David is now a valued member of our Challenge Group and has also taken on the task of being our Building Safety Champion at the Trust.