Edinburgh New Town residents launch crowd-funding appeal for potential legal action over bin hubs plan
New Town residents have launched a £10,000 crowd-funding campaign to pay for potential legal action over council plans to install communal "bin hubs" every 100 metres in some of the Capital's most historic streets.
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Flyers are being distributed by the New Town and Broughton community council highlighting what it says would be a "desecration" of the World Heritage Site and inviting people to donate via a GoFundMe page.
The community council says the hubs – each with seven large bins – would ruin the famous views of the New Town.
And it complains the council decided to go ahead with them – replacing the current system of gull-proof sacks and recycling boxes – without any consultation.
It has already formally warned the council it is considering seeking a judicial review to halt the scheme, but says it would prefer to resolve the matter by discussion.
Carol Nimmo, chair of the community council, said: "We have sent them a legal letter and they have responded and that is all ongoing. But what we are hoping is they come to the table and we don't need to seek a judicial review.
"We would much prefer everyone sat down and talked about this properly, which should have happened before the decision.
"We're looking for funds because if we can’t meet and discuss, the advice we've had is we have a very good case for a judicial review.”
The flyers are going to the 2,500 homes affected by the proposal – most of the east-west streets of the New Town – but the crowdfunding appeal will also feature on the community council's website.
And Ms Nimmo said others might want to contribute. "This isn't our New Town, it's Edinburgh's New Town. And I'm sure many, many Edinburgh residents would not want to see it defaced in this way. You will never ever get that iconic photo again."
She said the bin hubs would be the biggest change in the New Town since it was given World Heritage Site status and accused the council of trying to impose it “under the radar”.
She said: “In April this decision was taken and no-one knew anything about it. There was no previous discussion with the heritage bodies, the community council or residents. It was a fait accompli.”
She said when communal bins were introduced elsewhere in the city centre, it was decided these “most sensitive of streets” required gull-proof bags. “So why not now? Nothing has changed. We know waste management moves on, but it's hard to argue this isn't almost the best system – it's cheap and the bags are only on the streets for a matter of hours.”
A council spokesperson said having waste and recycling bins at the same location made recycling easier and more accessible, helping to boost the city’s recycling performance. “In addition the hubs provide increased capacity, a more reliable service and reduce overflowing bins and street clutter.
“We’ve met on several occasions with local community councils and other stakeholders, as well as Edinburgh World Heritage, with whom we are working to ensure the design and location of bins is in-keeping with the uniqueness of the World Heritage area.
"We are confident that we can introduce a more modern and fit-for-purpose waste and recycling service that does not undermine the character of the area but also increases the amount of waste that we recycle, and improves the cleanliness of local streets – an issue which residents have told us is also important to them.”