Valens House has a rubbish problem around the Rickards Close entrance to the flats.
As residents are no doubt aware the issue is not limited to overflowing bins but also fly tipped items that have blighted the area around the bin store which not creates an eyesore but it also creates a health hazard with vermin in evidence. The response by Optivo that the issue has been caused by the bin cupboard having locks fitted is only part of the cause of the issue.
The issue has been brought to the attention of Optivo since early 2019 when the rubbish issue started to become very evident. This seemed to coincide with Optivo taking over the management of Valens House from Metropolitan. Despite platitudes and a denial of the existence of the rubbish issue from Optivo the situation didn’t improve through 2019 despite emails to Optivo with the response that the matter would be handed over to the Estates Team with no report as to their findings. As any resident who has tried to engage with Optivo has no doubt found that responses to emails are very slow despite the assurance that emails will be responded to within 5 working days.
The situation did not improve and came to a head late 2020 when the dumped rubbish reached levels that weren’t acceptable and emails with photos and videos were sent to as many appropriate contacts at Optivo and Lambeth Council we could find to try and get something done about the issue. We included our MP in the email recipient list and to her credit Bell Ribeiro-Addy was the first to take any action by contacting the Director of Home Ownership who claimed that video and photos of rubbish were due to one missed rubbish collection.
Over the last 3 months we have been sending regular emails with photos to Optivo to prove this wasn’t a one off incident.
Official response from the Estates Team at Optivo dated 23rd Dec 2020
“Veolia & Lambeth agreed that there were a sufficient number of bins & advised the reason for the overflow was due to a new keypad lock being fitted to the access door. This resulted in a missed collection as the bin crew weren’t provided with the code. They now have the code & there are no issues at the moment. In the next financial year, I’ll be obtaining a quote to house the loose recycling bin in this area”
A resident asked if all bins can be in the same area, which they responded:
“I don’t think it would be a good idea to re locate them all to 1 area for a few reasons.
- There wouldn’t be enough space in the large bin store out the front of Valens House to house the 2 general waste bins & 1 recycling bin.
- As referred to above, there are 2 general waste bins & 1 recycling bin by the side entrance of Valens House which various residents use regularly.
- I believe it would cause an increase of loose rubbish & fly tipping in this area if the bins were re located / removed.
As mentioned, the area will be monitored regularly during visits to the estate & we will look into housing the recycling bin in the next financial year”
We have disputed the claim that there are sufficient number of bins and as of 1st February 2021 we have requested a meet with the Estates team to discuss the issue and try and come up with potential solutions as it appears that Optivo have come up with their own solution without any consultation with the residents of Valens House.
As soon as a date has been agreed for the meeting we will inform residents so that we can get as many people involved as possible to show to Optivo that this is an issue of utmost importance.
Due to the lack of any progress in dealing with this issue and the fact we felt we were being ignored by the lack or response we started the process of lodging an official complaint to Optivo. Laura Boakes, whose details are listed below, is dealing with the complaint. Email firstname.lastname@example.org