The dumping of rubbish and household goods in Rickards Close outside Valens House is not a new issue but has never been properly addressed by Optivo or before them Metropolitan as the Managing Agents responsible for Valens House.
Throughout this whole process we have wanted to work with Optivo in finding long term solutions to the issue but it has always felt that Optivo, until our recent face to face meeting with Michael Chivers Estate Services Supervisor on site, want to deal with this independently of the local residents whom this impacts more than anyone else.
We became involved in February 2019 by bringing the issue to the attention of Charlene Onovwigun who is the Property Manager of Home Ownership at Optivo. The response from Optivo was that the matter was handed to the Estate Services team who after an inspection claimed there were enough bins but another recycle bin could be provided. This response, in our opinion, didn’t address the issue which was the rubbish being dumped in the area of the bins. The dumped rubbish is intermittently cleared up at the expense of the Valens House Residents. This is not only creating an unsightly mess but also a health hazard with vermin seen scurrying around the area. So after a period of emails with evidential photos pinging back and forth between ourselves and Charlene and no action being taken we decided to try another tack. There’s a saying that if you want action taken then talk to the organ grinder or in this case our local MP Bell Rebeiro-Addy who despite everything else going on in her busy schedule has responded swiftly and effectively.The correspondence with Bell started in November 2020 and she immediately got in touch with Optivo and received a response from Os Osman the Director of Home Ownership who said that the matter had been looked into and the cause of the rubbish was one missed bin collection and there were sufficient bins for Valens House. We found this response to be not only belittling of the rubbish situation but it was plainly far from the truth as all our photos of the rubbish over a period of 2 years proves. We immediately responded to Bell stating that this was not addressing the ongoing situation.In the meantime we received an email from Charlene outlining a plan for the next financial year which basically explained the recyle bin would be rehoused. A good start but again a lack of discussion with the residents to come up with a solution.It was due to the dismissive response from Os Osman and the lack of communication despite numerous phone calls and emails that we dicided to lodge an official complaint and got in touch with Laura Boakes who is the Customer Experience Officer at Optivo and to her credit Laura immediately addressed the issue and set up clear lines of communication which led to the meeting with Michael Chivers to discuss the rubbish situation with a plan of action to be carried out by the end of April 2021. His email is on the blog page.
This is obviously a brief overview of the Rubbish Issue at Valens House and we will keep everyone posted as and when the proposed plan of action is carried out. Contact details for any people mentioned in this ‘news item’ can be circulated if required. From our experience what we have learnt is not to be fobbed off by platitudes from Optivo or any Managing Agents and to hold them to account by involving the ‘Experience Department’ (Complaints) earlier than we did in this whole process. We are the residents and are paying a hefty service charge so we should expect Optivo to provide a service and to involve residents in looking for solutions to problems that affect us all. We have to get away from an ‘us and them’ culture and work together for the benefit of all.