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‘Wheelie bins are on our own land’

By MIG: Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: November 14, 2013

Edwin Clowes with his bin on the cobbles

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A FURTHER letter is to be sent to residents who store their wheelie bins in alleyways amid claims that some householders own the land the containers sit on – while the county council owns the cobbles on top.

Residents, who have been using alleyways between Southbank Street, Livingstone Street and Cromwell Terrace, in Leek, have already received two letters warning them that if their waste bins are not relocated within the bounds of their property, rather than in the alleys, they could face court action.

Now some householders have claimed that part of the land in question is included in their property deeds, with one person in Southbank Street giving the Post & Times a copy which states that he owns part of the alleyway.

Another resident, Edwin Clowes, aged 69, of Southbank Street said this week: “It appears we own the soil and area, but the council owns the cobbles.

“We feel that the cobbles can be taken up from the piece of land we own and the bins placed on the land.

“We have heard nothing from the district council, but my neighbour has been to see our MP Karen Bradley.

“I have a coal bunker and a small shed for the logs in my very small yard. There is simply no room for the bins. If they were pushed up to the back door there would block any fire escape. You would also have to climb over the bins each time you wanted to get out of the property.”

Leek district councillor Brian Johnson has now taken up the issue in an effort to try and reach an agreement.

He said: “I am going to write a letter and deliver it to every resident.

“If people do not respond to my letter I will take it they are happy to move the bins onto their property.

“If people have a problem then they must ring me and I will go out and discuss the issue with them and try to come to some agreement.”

Simon Tagg, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet support member for transport and connected county, said: “It is important that all highways are kept clear of obstructions to allow access at all times.

“While any land remains part of the public highway the county council has primary responsibility for the maintenance, and members of the public are not permitted to make alterations, regardless of land ownership.”

A few weeks ago Staffordshire Moorlands District Council placed letters on scores of waste bins in the alleyways.

From the waste collection department, they 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.

“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.”

Last month the council dropped off another letter to residents saying that if they did not discuss having alternative containers by Friday, November 1, the authority would assume that residents were happy with the present arrangements.

If the bins were not moved a fine and court action could proceed.

However, no action has yet been taken following either letter.

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