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For bohemians everywhere

Bohemia and communal bins- Homewood in Bohemia

Richard Homewood

Richard Homewood

Richard Homewood, (pictured),  HBC’s Director of Environmental Services braved the cold and a fairly hostile audience at the December meeting of the Bohemia Area Association.
There were about 50 people in the Red Cross Hall in Newgate Road to see Richard’s well-prepared Powerpoint presentation about communal bins. He repeatedly broke off to take questions from the floor. At times the exchanges became a little heated but BAA chair Peter Holland kept things moving smoothly along. No tomatoes were thrown. Also answering questions was Emmett Dunford, HBC’s Waste & Recycling Manager.
Richard explained that one of the reasons we need to change from black bags is the danger of long-term repetetive strain injury to dustmen. He was asked if any compensation had been paid out for this. He didn’t have the figures but said the payments were ‘considerable’
He also said that there is a national target for recycling of 30% by the end of 2008/9 and 40% by 2010. Hastings is currently recycling 28% of waste. Nearly 28,000 twin bins have been delivered into suburban areas. Black sacks are still used in 11,500 homes where front gardens are small, and pavements narrow, as in Bohemia.
Richard told us that 2,400 brown bins for garden waste have been delivered. He stressed there is a charge as the Council is not obliged to collect garden waste. They make some money from the composting, but it doesn’t cover the cost of collection.
When Richard mentioned that rubbish spilt by dustmen is cleared up by the ‘Street cleaners who come through afterwards’, he seemed genuinely surprised at the laughter and shouts of ‘What street cleaners?’ .
Richard took many questions from the floor, including:
Q. Vic Chalcraft asked “What’s the point of recyling as no-one wants to buy it” Richard: ‘A lorryload of recyled paper is not a large enough amount commercially. We are teaming up with other Councils to fill a boat with paper which will then be sold abroad’.
Q.  ‘Why can’t shredded paper be included in recyling?’ Richard: “shredded paper includes dust which affects the recycling machinery: the dust cloggs up the wheels. I personally just tear off my name and address from letters, etc and then throw the rest into the recyling bin’.
Q. How much do the communal bin freighers cost? Richard: £180k each. Hastings would need two plus one spare. We could share the spare one with Brighton to save money. Normal black bag freighters are £120k ea.
Q. How often will the communal bins be emptied? Richard: “Initially, the bins will be emptied every other day, but every day if necessary”.
Q. Andrew Cartwright: “Why are bins planned for Bohemia Road which is an emergency route, and how on earth did the Highways Authority approve of the siting of bins in in that road?” Emmett: “The sites on the map are tentative only. You, the residents of Bohemia, know the area better than we do, and we want your input into the final decisions about siting the bins”. 
Q. John Humphries: “What proportion of your consultation forms have been returned?” Richard: “We sent out 11,500 forms and have had about 10% returned, which we consider pretty good, as response rates in surveys is notoriously low”.
Q. Andrew Cartwrght asks about fly tipping. Richard: “There’ll always be fly tipping, in alleyways, on pavements or waste ground. At least fly tipping by communal bins can be cleared daily.
Q. What about cleaning the bins and smells? Richard: “A deodorising spray can be fitted to operate automatically every time the lid of the bin is opened”.
Q. John Humphries: ‘If over 80% of residents in a street are against communal bins, might the Council still impose them?’ Richard: ‘Yes, – it depends on the response from the other streets in the same area. A patchwork arrangement where some streets have the bins and others don’t might not be economic’.
Q. Edward Preston: Can John Humphries tell us the results of the petition he and Bill Third organised? John: We have full results only for St Peter’s Road at present. Of the 56 occupied premises, we’ve received 54 responses. Of these, 46 were against the bins, 3 were for and 5 were ‘don’t knows’.
Q. Andy Holmes asked John Humphries: “Why didn’t you ask people what scheme they’d like instead of a negative petition about the communal bins?” John: “We wanted to keep it simple: we wanted only to show that the residents of Bohemia are against the bins”.
Q. Andy Holmes asked the meeting: ‘It’s pretty clear that we don’t want communal bins – so what do we want? We have an opportunity now to tell the Council what we’d like as an alternative.’ Voice from the floor: ‘Stay as we are, with dustbins’. Andrew C suggested the formation of a working group to look at alternatives. Several people volunteered including: Vic Chalcraft, Andrew Cartwright, Rosie Wilcox and John Penton.
The Council’s consultation period ends on Jan 12 2009, and by March, proposals will be put to the Council Cabinet for approval and by autumn, the communal bin system will go live (or not?).
Richard and Emmett were thanked for attending and left the hall at about 9pm.
Others present included Jeanette Holland, Kim Forward, John & Rosemary French, Dee Jones and Mike Cramp.

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