A COUNCIL has again warned householders they face court action if they fail to remove wheelie bins from an alleyway – despite having nowhere else to store them.
Three weeks ago the Post & Times reported that Staffordshire Moorlands District Council had placed letters on scores of waste bins in alleyways between Southbank Street, Livingstone Street and Cromwell Terrace, all in Leek.
The letters from the waste collection department said: “If this bin has not been removed and returned to private property by Friday, October 4, 2013 we will assume it has been abandoned and will arrange for it to be removed.”
Although most of the bins were left in situ after the deadline dat, last week the council again dropped off another letter, from waste manager Nicola Kemp, to residents saying that if they did not discuss having alternative containers by Friday, November 1, the council would assume that residents were happy with the present arrangement.
The letter said: “Please be aware that it is an offence to store bins on the public highway in between collections and as a result you could be liable for a fixed penalty notice to be served, which is currently £60 or £40 if paid within 10 days.
“If the penalty remains unpaid, the matter then proceeds to court where the maximum fine that can be imposed is £5,000.
“Please note any alternative containers provided must be stored on private property. It is your responsibility to ensure you have somewhere to store your waste in-between collections.” However, the Post & Times has been given a copy of the deeds from one resident in Southbank Street which states that he owns part of the alleyway.
After receiving the letter another resident, Edwin Clowes, aged 69, of Southbank Street said he was disappointed that the council had not spoken to residents before threatening court action.
He said: “I have a coal bunker and a small shed for the logs.
“There is simply no room for the bins. If they were pushed up to the back door they would block any fire escape.
“You would also have to climb over the bins each time you wanted to get out of the property.
“If there was a fire we could not escape.
“The council has now stated that we could have containers, but where do I put them? “They will not talk to us, Unstead they just send threatening court letters. All I want to know is where do I put my bins and at the same time maintain a fire escape, but no-one will tell me what to do.”
Councillor Arthur Forrester, who has the responsibility for the environment at Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, said: “The letters that we delivered last week are asking households to confirm their waste container requirements.
“We appreciate that some residents have limited storage in their yards or front gardens and alternative containers are available to help address this.
“The letter contains details of these alternatives and asks residents to consider which of the containers best meet their requirements.
“We’ve asked residents to let us know by Friday, November 1, so that appropriate arrangements can be made and have provided reply paid envelopes for this purpose.
“Staffordshire County Council as the highways authority has confirmed that the alleyways are adopted public highways so I would reiterate that bins cannot be left in the alleyways, and it is the responsibility of residents to ensure they have somewhere to store containers in between collections.
“Council officers are available to offer advice and to discuss the options by telephone, or to visit homes with examples of the containers, and we can also arrange assistance for people who can’t put their containers out on collection day.
“The telephone number for the team is 01538 395794 and I would encourage people to get in touch with us so we can work together to resolve any issues."