Wheelie bins have not been emptied at a block of flats for a month after binmen refused to climb a few steps to get them, despite having done so for more than 10 years.
The residents of Townsend Close, Wellingborough, include elderly people who could not carry their wheelie bin down the few steps between the gated courtyard, where the bins are kept, and the pavement.
Resident John Poulten, 70, said: “The bins have not been emptied for four weeks because they say the stairs are dangerous. Wellingborough Homes said they will send someone out to see what they can do. But that will take time and we just want our bins emptied.
“I have lived here for four years and I have neighbours who have been here for 10 years, and since they have been using wheelie bins the binmen have always come in to get them. There are older people who would not be able to carry the wheelie bins down the steps – I can’t carry them up and down.”
A spokesman for Wellingborough Homes, which owns the flats, said the caretaker at Townsend Close would take the bins out for collection until a long-term solution is found.
He said: “We at Wellingborough Homes are concerned about the situation and have been working hard to solve the problem.
“Original proposals we considered were for a ramp at the front of the flats that we felt may be too steep to be safe. Our surveyor is now reviewing a new idea suggested by a resident and whether it complies with building regulations.”
A spokesman for Wellingborough Council said: “It was decided earlier in the year that moving the bins down the steep steps was not a suitable arrangement.
“Employees at Wellingborough Norse, the company which carries out refuse collections on behalf of the council, wrote to residents in September to let them know that alternative collections points at the front and the side of the flats had been agreed. It seemed that once the bins were emptied, residents moved them back to the inaccessible position at the rear of the flats and they were unable to be emptied on the next collection date. If the bins remain in the collection places at the front and side of the flats, regular collections will be resumed.
“We cannot expect our refuse teams to carry the bins up and down the steep steps at the rear of the flats, nor would we expect residents to do that. The new collection points are accessible. All they have to do is leave them there once they are emptied.”