SOME while ago, I made a Freedom of Information Act request for information relating to the council decision to impose wheelie bins onto residents who live in terraced houses and other types of property unsuitable for such a waste collection system.
I was forced to do this because the information being put out by some members of the waste collection implementation team seemed to be inaccurate.
Following claims by senior council officers and council members that terraced house residents had been consulted, I asked for copies of the two consultation documents. As so many people remember, both these survey documents clearly state that terraced houses and flats would not receive the waste collection system being considered in these surveys. One said that ‘sacks and/or plastic boxes would be used’ and the other said that the council will ‘develop appropriate schemes in the year ahead’.
A report to the cabinet, dated January 4, 2007, clearly states that 0% of terraced houses and flats would be suitable for the options being considered. So, why are senior council officers and councillors claiming that terraced house and flat dwellers had been consulted?
Expecting the answer above, I also asked for the names and titles of those who came up with a waste collection plan that included the imposition of wheelie bins onto terraced streets.
Oddly, I was given the name of just one elected member. This was Councillor Jill Houlbrook with the title of executive member for waste management. If the information I have officially been given by the council is correct, then it is this council member who must explain why they have changed the council’s original clear belief that wheelie bins were not suitable for terraced houses and flats.
Finally, I have some bad news for residents of Hoole and other predominantly terraced areas of Chester.
You may have thought that you were one of the lucky 7,000 households that escaped the burden of having to keep three huge wheelie bins in your small and beautiful front gardens. Well, I must tell you that on July 6 Steve Kent, director of environment, repeated what his officers have been saying all along.
He said that it remained the council’s intention that all properties physically able to accommodate bins would have them. Here are some examples of likely candidates – Tarvin Road, Ermine Road, Hewitt Street, Clare Avenue, Gladstone Road, Whipcord Lane, Cambrian Road to name just a few of Chester’s pleasant terraced roads and streets likely to suffer at the hands of what the slogan says is ‘Your Council’.
So, if you live in any of these roads, or any terraced house, old or new, or you simply think that Chester’s beauty is worth protecting and you are not already shouting then start now! Good luck.