A MOSSLEY resident was threatened with prosecution by Tameside Council for leaving his recycling bins on the street.
Michael Herbert claimed he leaves his bins in front of his home on Andrew Street for health and safety reasons.The freelance historian, in an email to Tameside Council’s Warren Turner, explained: “The reason we leave the bins on the pavement is because the path at the rear of Andrew Street, where our house is, is often muddy and there is a steep rise at the end where it joins the pathway.
“On several occasions I have fallen over when pushing the bins up the rise, sustaining minor bruising, dirty clothing etc. If you do not believe me, I am happy to demonstrate the problem (at six feet distance, of course).
“If your employees wish to take the bins from the rear of our property to the road for emptying and return them to the rear of the property after collection, you are welcome to do so. I do not feel I should risk my health on your behalf.”
Michael added he is unaware if neighbours have also received letters from Sharon Smith, Tameside Council’s head of public protection, threatening prosecution.
He pointed out that up to 20 bins are at times lined up along the fence, arguing they are not causing issues.
In his email, Michael continued: “I should point out that the bins do not obstruct the pathway as they are placed against the fence, leaving plenty of room for pedestrians.
“They only obstruct the pathway when they are left strewn across the path after the collection day.
“I should also point out that on several occasions in the last couple of years I have complained to the council about the obstruction by cars of the paths on Stamford Road where in the evenings they are completely blocked in several places, forcing pedestrians into the road. Nothing has been done.
“If the council does feel that this is a genuine problem, you could have gone door to door some months ago and spoken to residents to discuss the problem. Instead you have in the first instance resorted to threats of prosecution, which is oppressive, and for some older residents may cause distress.”
Michael added he would have thought Tameside Council would have had more pressing priorities at this time.
He continued in his email to Warren Turner: “In the midst of the worst public health emergency for a century, I find it astonishing that I receive a note from you on behalf of the council, not offering support for any problems we might be experiencing as residents, but complaining about the bins remaining on the street.
“This the first contact we have received from the council since the crisis began.”
Michael added he has lived on Andrew Street since 1997 and this is the first time he has received a letter threatening him with prosecution.
And in a new twist, Michael’s recycling bins mysteriously disappeared which prompted a further email to Tameside Council before they were returned.
Cllr Tafheen Sharif took up the baton on behalf of Michael and received a reply from a council officer.
It read: “Unfortunately the two complaints regarding bins being left out on the highway arrived with the council at the time we were closing our offices and asking as many officers as possible to work from home.
“Poor communication led to duplicated letters being sent to properties where you live and an inappropriate response at that time. I can only apologise for the breakdown in communications during this period and for any inconvenience you may have experienced as a result. I can assure you that I have since spoken to the staff involved to prevent a similar situation arising again.
“After discussing this with you, I am pleased that you are going to put your bin out at the front of your property on a trial basis and I have asked for an officer to make contact with you again in a few months to discuss this further.
“With regards to your bin being taken, I understand this has now been resolved and a new bin has been delivered.”