Clean streets

Hampden Road makeover

Last week some residents of Hampden Road got together to repaint a grotty looking wall – and here’s the result! Excellent work by those involved and thanks to the council for sorting out paint for the junction box.

St Martins Place Community Cleanup

On Weds October 25th, University of Sussex is organising a streetclean on St Martins Place and anyone wishing to join residents, students and city clean staff sprucing up the street is welcome to attend. Lucy Walker from the university says it will be “a very informal hands on, sleeves up call to action. We’ll be sweeping pavements and clearing any recycling or rubbish.” For more info contact Lucy Housing@Sussex.ac.uk

If you think your street needs sprucing or you and your neighbours would like to do some work on your street and would like some help or advice, do get in touch.

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A month in the life of a Hanover bin

At the last LAT meeting the communal bins on Washington Street were discussed – although residents on the street felt that the introduction of the communal bins was overall welcome, there were some issues raised around overfilling and fly tipping, and the perception that people from other streets which don’t have a communal bin were making use of those on the two streets which have this service.

To get a more specific idea of the problems and issues, the photo diary below has been taken covering the set of bins highest up the hill on Washington Street. Photos were taken at random times of day – just when the photographer happened to be passing.

Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4Week 5Some conclusions:

  • The service provided by City Clean is good, with the bins in good order on the majority of days.
  • During the study period, overfilled bins were emptied within one day and flytipped waste left around the bins removed mostly after one day and on one occasion removed after two days.
  • Although some bins were filled and rubbish left around them, this was not due to lack of capacity as space was generally available in other bins – on just one occasion were all bins full to overflowing
  • The bin most often overflowing was the one closest to the Southover Street junction. That this bin was often overfilled whilst others remained empty might indicate that residents from further up the hill just stuff refuse in or around the closest bin before making a getaway. This also might be caused by residents of Washington Street dropping off rubbish by car on their way out, and using this bin as it is easier to park next to.

Some suggestions:

  • If signage were to be deployed it may work best if it was placed ‘on behalf of the Local Action Team’ or ‘on behalf of the Washington Street Residents’ – rather than a standard council notice
  • Signage might include these messages?:
    • “This bins are for domestic waste disposal for residents of Washington Street only”
    • “Please respect the comfort of your neighbours who live closest to the bins and do not overfill these bins or leave waste on the pavement”
    • “If the bin you wish to use is full, check to see if there is room in any of the others, and – if not – please take your waste home and bring it out again when they have been emptied.”
    • “If this bin needs attention, contact BHCC – phone number/email/twitter”
  • Turning the end bin 180% so that it is slightly less easy to reach may encourage residents to use other bins and spread the load a bit more.

Thought or comments welcome.

Communal Bins – A view from Grove Street

Guest post thanks to Tom & Lisa who live on Grove Street

For a Cleaner Grove Street

Dear neighbour,
Having just received two leaflets about communal bins on Grove St, I feel like I should contribute our personal experiences of communal bins. Lisa and I used to live in the Seven Dials area and had a two communal bins right outside our house. We would like to highlight the benefits of communal bins as well as countering some of the objections that have been raised.

Cleaner streets. Grove St already has chronic problems with refuse. “Binvelopes” not only clutter the street (making it difficult for prams and wheelchairs to pass), but also fill with loose rubbish. They attract vermin and are unhygienic; ours is regularly rummaged though by a fox. Bin bags are often torn apart, leaving rubbish strewn across the pavement on collection days.
No environmental / anti-social impact. Having lived very near to a set of communal bins, we can confidently rebut fears about the environment and anti-social behaviour. In 3 years of living near communal bins, we never witnessed any urination, arson or any other disruptive behaviour. Nor did
we witness anybody disposing of harmful materials.
More regular collections. Communal bins are emptied several times a week. This means that rubbish is not left festering in your house, binvelope or wheelie-bin. This also means that the bins do not acquire a noticeable odour and do not cause insects to breed.
Mobility issues. It is true that some people will not be able to use the proposed bins. For this reason, the council already offers assisted collection. If this will affect you, please see http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/index.cfm?request=c1250454 or ring the council.
Fly-tipping. Fly-tipping is already a problem on Grove St. In the last six months we’ve seen mattresses and broken furniture left on the pavement outside houses for weeks before it is eventually removed. People will always fly-tip. When we lived in Seven Dials, people did occasionally
fly-tip by the communal bin, but this was always collected much more promptly than it seems to be here.

When we received the consultation documents, we were very pleased to hear that we were getting the opportunity to go back to communal bins. We know first-hand that the benefits outweigh the downsides and we would urge you all to respond positively to the consultation.

http://consult.brighton-hove.gov.uk/public/bhcc/env/hanover_refuse_consultation

Communal bins will make our community cleaner and more accessible.
If you have any questions about our communal bin experiences, please get in touch.

Tom Wright & Lisa Murray
Grove St

tom@tdwright.co.uk

(see this previous post for more info on the Communal Bins proposal. The minutes of the November LAT meeting which discussed this issue are available HERE)

A Rubbish Consultation

at the start of the year, the council began a trial of communal bins on Coleman Street and Washington Street. As an alternative to the weekly collection of black sacks, large bins were placed at the ends of the road which were to be emptied more often and which residents can put their refuse in whenever they choose, rather than needing to keep it at home or on the pavement for most of the week.

Residents on these streets who came to the LAT were generally pleased with the scheme, and reported a reduction in street litter and pavement obstructions, and following the success of the trial the council refuse and recycling service Cityclean have proposed that communal bins are extended more widely around this part of Hanover.

In developing the proposals, Damian Marmura from Cityclean has attended our LAT meetings, and residents were invited to walk the streets with him, looking in detail at the exact location of potential new bins. This work with the LAT is appreciated and we thank Damian for the extra effort taken to work with the community in developing this proposal.

What next

Each property in the area affected should receive a consultation pack through the door. If you didn’t receive one, or live outside of the affected area, copied can be downloaded from here or from the council website Hanover Communal Refuse page. There will also be a public exhibition and a chance to talk to Cityclean staff about any issues on 20th November 3-6pm at the Hanover Centre.

Following the consultation – if the scheme goes ahead – it will start from April 2013.

Hanover Street Focus

Back in March, a group of neighbours met with Tony from the council to carry out an audit of our streets: the plan was to inspect Hanover, to note down what was wrong and needed fixing, and also to think about what positive changes we could make to improve our area. (The image at the top of this post was taken from candychang.com – the website of an American artist which documents a series of inspirational neighbourhood projects – well worth a look.)

The survey forms have been examined and we have a fair list of what needed doing on that day – a summary of street-by-street issues is below. The next step is our Street Focus day, which will take place on Friday 18th May meet up at the Hanover Centre at 10am.

We are hoping that City Clean will do a deep clean of certain streets on that day and challenge residents who have left out rubbish bags. The graffiti team will remove graffiti across Hanover during that week. Residents can help with tasks such as removing stickers and cable ties from lamp posts, some sweeping up of rubbish etc. We will supply the equipment. You should wear strong shoes and bring gloves. Please meet in the garden at the Hanover Centre (if its not raining) to collect tools and to split into small groups to do various tasks. We have booked the First floor hall for refreshments and to leave bags etc.

This starts to tackle some of the negative aspects which need sorting out, but this project is also intended to look at positive ways we can make Hanover a better place. Following comments left on the audit sheets we are also looking at another area of activity.

Let Hanover Blossom – we are encouraging residents to have flowers on show in the streets. For some people there is enough room outside their homes for a planter – but please do not obstruct the already narrow pavements. Other people will have window boxes. We are less keen on hanging baskets because it is a drought year and hanging baskets use a lot of water. We will be advertising an event with the local food project (VEG) to get people started in planting flowers and show them how to plant up window boxes. We will also be showing people how to make a vertical planter from recycled wooden pallets.

Please put up the attached poster in your window and tell your neighbours about these events. There is a lot of support for improving the streets and if we do this, others will be more likely not to mess them up. If you want me to print you a colour poster, please leave a message for Tony  requesting one and your address ( telephone 293926) and he will drop one through your letterbox.

Here is the full summary of the March audits.

Hanover Street Focus

Following requests from Hanover residents via the Local Action Team, we are planning to hold a couple of events to improve the look of Hanover Streets. Most individual residents keep their flats and houses looking good. But – despite the best efforts of the council street cleansing team – the streets can let the area down. Graffiti; grass growing between paving slabs; stickers and cable ties on lamp posts; benches looking uninviting and unclean. So this is what we suggest: a low-cost makeover.

Step One: a group of residents meet up at the Hanover Community Association on Thursday March 1st at 2pm to 3pm and carry out street audits – simple things that could be done to improve each street such as new flowers in the planter in Ewart Street and a coat or two of wood preserver on the bench at the end of Beaumont Terrace.

Step Two: we contact the various services: Cityclean, the graffiti officer, highways enforcement etc and we get them all to concentrate their resources for a day on Hanover. And if residents want to help out on that day we shall provide litter-pickers and brooms and anything else we can muster which would be of use.  If anyone is interested, we could help you find ways to raise money to plant trees, create window boxes and add some street art. And you never know – the publicity which will come of this may convince some of the people who let the area down, to begin to respect their neighbours and their streets a little more.

Do let us know if you are interested in coming along on March 1st for an hour. Help make Hanover a better place to live.   

Tony Baker  – tony.baker@brighton-hove.gov.uk  01273 293926

…and now for a bank that’s right up your street

At the last Local Action Team meeting, Damian Marmura from Cityclean was in attendence and we talked rubbish.

One topic touched on was the Hanover tendency to place unwanted items on the pavement in the hope that someone else might want them – a great local tradition, but sometimes misused or misunderstood leading to pavements littered with tat..

There is another way – enter Streetbank. Streetbank is a free and easy to use website which links neighbours who have got something to give, lend or share or who want something to borrow or have. Unlike other similar sites, items are listed by their distance to your home. Hanover already seems established here with over 50 local members.

The site is jolly and colourfull and easy to use, with a community noticeboard as well as ‘stuff’ listings. I have posted details of my giveaway but no punters so far… anyone else used it and want to comment?

It looks like a good thing, and might help to keep our streets clean, as well as giving a new way to meet neighbours. Here is what founder Sam has to say about it: