The Invasion of the Daleks
Christopher Riley on the wheelie bin blight on the Miltons
When Haringey introduced its new refuse and recycling collection system in 2012, residents of the Miltons enclave likened the onslaught of wheelie bin blight to an invasion of the Daleks.
The Miltons is a densely populated area of the Highgate ward where a majority of the Victorian properties have been converted into four flats and the design of the period has resulted in the properties not having front gardens. This has led to the wheelie bins being stored on the public footpaths.
The storage of the bins on the pathways has created an aesthetically unpleasant street scene and when the bins are beginning to reach capacity there are strong odours and flies buzzing around, as you walk along the otherwise pretty roads. Often the bins will overflow and refuse is then dragged from the bins by vermin and left strewn across our roads.
It has been a big learning curve for me – as Chair of the Residents Association – with meetings with local councillors, Haringey officers and cabinet members to try and resolve the problem. We even reached the point where we took the matter up with the Local Government Ombudsman, unfortunately unsuccessfully.
We feel that an alternative solution needs to be reached due to the dense population of the area and the unnecessary detriment to our environment. A one size fits all approach is not appropriate, therefore a practicable and reasonable solution needs to be found so that our streets no longer resemble urban ghettoes! Of course solutions cost money, which is not always available – none the less there are ways to move forward. We feel that if weekly collections of refuse were reintroduced in such areas this could lead to fewer, smaller bins that might be able to be stored off the pavement.
Other European countries such as Spain have underground refuse storage where residents take their small bags of rubbish to the end of the street and deposit them through a shaft. I understand that a similar system was introduced in Tower Hamlets during the Olympics to show the world a pleasant landscape; albeit I imagine this was through Olympic monies.
The bottom line is that we have been left with a depressing street scene and a lack of civic pride. Not one of Haringey’s objectives, I am sure!
On a positive note: the residents reached the end of their tether as a neglected pocket of the borough and re-established the Miltons Residents Association. This has brought together the community to lobby Haringey on the issues being faced by the neighbourhood.