Following on from the Beeston Hill Residents Forum, myself, Cllr Iqbal met with the police, Waste Management Team (WMT), the Cleaner Neighbourhoods Team (CNT), Inner South Community Committee (ISCC) Officers and Highways Leeds.
Missed Bins: I and Cllr Mohammed Iqbal made it clear a long-term solution was needed. The WMT said the issue was due to a small number of drivers parking on the street junctions and in the back streets blocking the wagon. The wagons have large turning circles and collections were abandoned when the street is blocked so they can’t turn.
Smaller collection wagons are not a solution as the volume of waste would require a significant number to be deployed. Cllr Iqbal made clear this wasn’t a new problem and wanted to know what was being done to fix it. The WMT said they were trialling collection points at the gable end of smaller streets to speed collections up but this was unsightly for local people. Extra staff were being added to problem rounds to drag the bins to the wagons but this wasn’t guaranteed for every collection.
We asked Highways Leeds what steps they can take. They advised double yellow lines can be painted but this would impact residents and may just push parking deeper into the streets back streets. They advised they’d look at options and forecast their impact.
I advised of my concern over residents knowledge as large parts of the area have a high new arrival rate from nations with multiple languages other than English. The CNT said they had some picture based support sheets used elsewhere in Leeds and would send this on to us to check and update if needed as multi-language documents can be very long and wasteful.
Litter and Street Cleaning: Residents have been giving significant feedback about litter, street cleaning and fly-tipping. The CNT advised they were now looking at the scheduling of the road sweepers to avoid peak car parking times, to take place after bin collection day and at changing the frequency from fortnightly to weekly. They advised this will take time to scope out as it will have a knock-off effect elsewhere and other areas needed to not be negatively impacted. The bin yard improvement plan should have a positive impact, removing wheelie bins off the street and thus reducing the risk of litter as bins get blown over etc. This could also have a positive impact on the speed of collections by the WMT.
Dog Fouling: The CNT said despite Councillors feedback, residents were still not reporting the issue and the data is needed to justify deploying a dog warden. They advised they can request spot checks but they needed information to locate and identify the offenders. I asked if a more hard-hitting marketing campaign was needed to remind people of why this is an issue and the fines. The CNT advised more hard-hitting campaigns tended to work better. The INCC team said this was proposed originally but the consensus at the time was not to be as hard-hitting, but subject to budget, this can be reviewed.
Fly-tipping: Cllr Iqbal asked if fly-tipping had increased since the bulk fee was introduced. The CNT advised there hadn’t been but there was a greater awareness of the issue now and this had fed into the idea that fly-tipping had increased and the two were linked. The team is also turning around reports more quickly.
Crime and Quads: The Police advised that they were currently recruiting and should have a full local team soon. I raised the issue of drug dealing, speeding and quad bikes. The Police advised they were getting very little formal reporting on this from the public and thus can’t direct extra support. They stressed that unless the community reported information, the Police won’t have the useful information such as names, address, number plates. I asked the ISCC team if there was scope to look at a “Need to Report Campaign” and they said they would look at this as this could cover other topics such as dog mess, litter, anti-social behaviour etc.
Summary: It was agreed to hold this meeting every three months to keep a track on local progress. There is movement – if slow – on dealing with the waste issue on Beeston Hill. However, it is clear the message we need to get to the public is to report, report, report!
Whether this is crime, litter, dog fouling etc, residents are not providing the information agencies needs to make the changes required. This will need to be a big focus going forward.