Bohemia Village Voice  Bohemia Village Voice

For bohemians everywhere

Bohemia & Communal Bins

Bill Third collecting a signature from Mrs J Woodward

Bill Third collecting a signature from Mrs J Woodward


Two St Peter’s Road residents Bill Third and John Humphries conducted a street by street survey of opinions on the Council’s plans to introduce communal bins into Bohemia.

They found that 87% of residents were against the plan. Altogether, they interviewed 288 people, of whom 252  were against the planned introduction, 17 said they were in favour and 19 either didn’t know, or didn’t care.

At the same time as conducting the survey, Bill & John collected petition signatures, all of which have been presented to the Council. They started the survey process in November of last by printing 600 leaflets which they delivered door to door around Bohemia.

In December and January petition signatures were collected and nine streets were surveyed. For each road, the number of people against the bins was recorded together with the number of those in favour and the number of those who had no opinion either way – the ‘don’t knows’.

Results for the nine streets surveyed are shown in full in the table below. On Friday the 9th of January, all the petitions*, with the survey results, street lists and graph, were delivered to borough solicitor Jane Butters, with copies to Colin Mee (head of Waste & Recycling), Michael Foster, MP, Peter Holland of The Bohemia Area Association, Richard Homewoood, Director of Environmental Services, and Amber Rudd of Hastings & Rye Conservatives. The accompanying letter said “Our overall conclusion is the inescapable one that the residents of Bohemia do not want communal bins”.

*Included with the Bohemia bundle of petitions was an impressive list of 69 signatures which Sharon Lee of Silverlands Road had collected.


Street Against For Don’t Know Total
Bohemia Road 67 7 9 83
Clarence Road 9 0 0 9
Cranbrook Road 10 0 0 10
London Road 34 4 2 40
Lower South Road 17 0 0 17
Newgate Road 20 0 0 20
North Road 8 2 0 10
St Peter’s Road 51 3 5 59
Tower Road 26 0 2 28
Tower Road West 10 1 1 12
TOTALS 252 17 19 288
Percentages 87% 6% 7% 100%


“We believe that the next step should be for the Council to ask residents what type of containers would suit them”  The BAA Working Party set up at its December public meeting has sent a 12-page letter to Richard Homewood, Director of Environmental Services. The working party drew up a list of 16 criteria to be applied to each of the three schemes (see panel). The group measured each of the three schemes against the listed criteria – see below, this page. Despite the scheme with the most ‘successes’ being clearly the Twin Bin scheme, the group said “We feel that flexibility is the key to designing an effective solution. We believe that the next step should be for the Council to ask residents what type of containers would suit them, which they would find acceptable (if not their preference) and which unacceptable”.


The BAA’s Working Party drew up  this list of 16 criteria to rate each scheme (black sacks, communal bins & twin bins)

• Is easy for residents to understand and use
• Encourages and maintains quality of recycling
• Contains refuse securely so that the streets and gardens are not made dirty
• Keeps refuse containers away from public view except on collection day (no eyesore effect)
• Keeps the roads free from obstructions which may interrupt traffic flow or cause drivers or pedestrians to become unsighted
• Does not encourage fly-tipping
• Does not interfere with private property rights
• Does not reduce the amount of on-street parking
• Does not damage the local economy
• Minimizes the risk of injury to residents
• Minimizes the risk of injury to refuse collectors
• Is based on a proven scheme; not an experiment
• Is cost effective
• Does not cause smells / infections
• Does not represent a public fire hazard
• Does not hamper possible future joint working with other local authorities


This scheme rated 8 successes, 5 failures and  3 unknowns. The Working Party felt that “although the black sacks scheme has a number of strengths it also has major weaknesses which we suspect cannot be rectified. We have asked for more information so that we can consider whether the “failures” could be addressed by modifying the scheme”.


This scheme was awarded 12 successes, 0 failures and 4 unknowns by the working group. “Although the Council’s twin bin scheme has worked well in some parts of the town we feel that design flaws have made it unsuitable for many areas, including Bohemia. However, although some flexibility on the part of the Council will be required, a modified version of the Twin Bin scheme could be implemented in Bohemia”.


The Working Party rated this scheme with 1 success, 11 failures and 4 unknowns. “A Communal Bin scheme should not be implemented in any area where a scheme based on each household having its own containers can be used. Such a scheme has little to recommend it for an area like Bohemia which is made up mainly of single-family dwellings (multi-occupancy dwellings are relatively few)”.

UPDATE (16 FEB  2009)

Update (Feb 16) from Andrew Cartwright “The Working Party’s letter to the Director of Environmental Services has been acknowledged. Three petitions have been presented to the Council. They will be heard by Cabinet at its meeting on March 2nd, 6pm Town Hall. Please check details nearer the time.


Early in January, the Voice was alerted to a cache of communal bins being stored at Veolia’s depot in Bulverhythe Road. Were they intended for Bohemia? Colin Mee, the Council’s head of Waste Management, says “I am little disappointed that you would think that officers would have purchased communal bins before a decision has been made. For clarification, there has been no purchase of communal bins. As you can see from the photo these bins are on wheels and not studs and do not have rolling lids. These actual bins have been purchase to support 1066 housing with their new collection points. They are also replacement for the bring sites such as Sainsbury’s and Tesco’s”.  So that’s all right then.



Worried Carisbrooke Road resident writes (Mar 2009)
Dear Sir, Me & my partner live right by the bins pictured on the front of the January issue of the Village Voice [see picture], and although we fully appreciate not having our household rubbish hanging around all week, we are more than a little fed up with people from outside the community arriving at all hours of the day dumping car loads of black sacks, sofas, wardrobes, computers – in fact, you name it, we’ve found it festering by the bins. If that’s not bad enough, we get undesirables going through the bins and getting the black sacks out, undoing them and going through them with a fine tooth comb. When confronted all you receive is an earful of abuse for your troubles. With all this fraud going around these days, we can all guess at what they are searching for. We’ve learned to put our rubbish out before going to work of a morning. Surely this must be a cause for concern. Worried Carisbrooke Road resident (address not supplied)

J J Waller writes (Mar 2009)
Dear Sir, We’ve had communal bins on our street for about four years. They are brilliant. Initially everyone was whipped up into a negative frenzy campaign but they arrived anyway. Seagull split bin bags littering the streets are pretty much a thing of the past (except in streets without the communal bins.)
Ours gets emptied every day and dumped stuff like mattresses and TV’s get picked up very fast although not as fast as the graffiti scribbles which get painted over before the paint is even dry.  We get our recycling picked up once a week so together it works a treat. The thing that strikes me about the St Leonards bins is the ugly frames and the heavily branded signs. What’s that all about? As for smells or vandalism, I can honestly say it’s never been a problem although being Brighton we only have yuppie smelling rubbish. Why not propose a test period in a few trial streets?  Then have a further  consultation to decide what works best. J J Waller, Brighton.

Mrs Jo Hunter writes (Mar 2009)
Dear Sir, we are really struggling in Bohemia to keep a sense of community pride. Giant bins won’t help. Our local church, St Peter’s, is arguably the most beautiful building in Bohemia. The council wants to put two extemely ugly objects right in front of it! Please – give us a break. Wouldn’t it be great if we could put out all our black bags and all our recycling bags and any large items for one weekly collection!” Mrs Jo Hunter, St Peter’s Road

J J Waller writes (Mar 2009)
Dear Sir, I have just noticed that  the penalty for fly-tipping, according to the sticker on our communal bin is up to £20,000 and even 6 months in prison! This makes the proposed £50 penalty in Hastings & St Leonards seem quite a bargain and not much of a deterrent as it could cost more to go to an official tip.  This is a question you may like to raise with your Council. J J Waller, Brighton.
[The Voice contacted Cllr Andrew Cartwright who has written to Council leader Peter Pragnall for clarification. No reply at the time of going to press.]

Charlotte writes (Mar 2009)
Dear Sir, I live in St. Leonards and I have communal bins directly outside my house. I’ve lived here for ten years so I know what it’s like. It is stated that the bins smell and this is not true even in the height of summer because they are collected so regularly that they never do. We have never had a problem with youths ‘fire bombing’ the bins even though we live in an area with many young people and the inevitable anti-social behaviour. It is true that some people place larger things next to the bins. However, the council is quick to come and collect these items and they are never a problem. They even collected late on Boxing Day. Twin bins were unpopular when they were first suggested too. Don’t write the idea of communal bins off because of the loss of a few parking spaces. Charlotte of St Leonards.

John Breakspeare writes (May 2009)

Dear Sir, I refer to the letter from J J Waller of Brighton [Voice, March 2009]. The maximum penalty for fly-tipping is £20,000 and/or six months in prison. This penalty is aimed at the ‘professional’ fly-tipper – the type of criminal who charges clients for removing their industrial or toxic waste. It is not intended to deal with someone who throws their litter on the ground or dumps a fridge on the corner. The local authority can prosecute such offenders in a court of law, where a fine of £150-250 may be given. Alternatively, a fixed penalty notice for £75 may be issued. If the same person is caught again, a prosecution in court is the only option. So you see, J J, the fixed penalty is not a cheap option to taking your rubbish to the tip. It is quite a hefty slap on the wrist to remind you that next time you are tempted to drop any litter, even a cigarette end, – DON’T. John Breakspeare, Cherry Tree Close.

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