Edinburgh bins: Portobello couple forced to sell home of 22 years because of council's bin plans

Estate agent has told them bin hub will cut house value by at least £10,000 overnight
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Chris and Patricia Ramage have lived in their single-storey house in Portobello for the past 22 years and were intending to stay there for the rest of their lives. But they say the council’s plan to place six large communal bins outside their sitting room window has made them decide to sell up and move.

And an estate agent has told them the bin hub will take at least £10,000 off the value of the house in Joppa Road.

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The couple say they cannot face the noise and nuisance they expect the bins to bring. Mr Ramage, 64, said: “There’ll be bottles crashing numerous times a day, bin lids slamming even more often, food waste fermenting in the summer heat, drive-by dumping of domestic and commercial waste and no doubt all sorts of spillages. The bin hub will cover three-quarters of the frontage of our house and completely obliterate the view from my living room window and front door.”

He is also concerned about the impact of the bin hub on his elderly neighbour. “The glass bin is going to be right outside her bedroom window. The bins are not supposed to be lifted before 7am, but recently they have been coming earlier. Just imagine a glass bin being emptied at 6.45am.”

Mr Ramage said he had been trying to get the council to change the plans since June and the saga was causing him and his wife, 65, mental stress. He said: “We’ve pretty much decided we are going to sell up. We’ve lived here 22 years. It's a great wee spot and a good area but we just feel we could not live with that number of bins outside. We’re really reluctant to do it. We have a lovely wee garden and we were quite happy to stay here for the rest of our days. Why move when we have everything we want? But our hand is going to be forced.

“We've also been told by estate agents that the property value would be reduced by at least £10,000 overnight and it would also take considerably longer to sell. We are going to lose thousands of pounds.”

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The council is rolling out communal bin hubs across the city, coralling general waste and various recycling bins together at regular intervals in a bid to encourage more recycling.

A mock-up shows how the bin hub could look outside the Ramages' houseA mock-up shows how the bin hub could look outside the Ramages' house
A mock-up shows how the bin hub could look outside the Ramages' house

Mr Ramage said the hubs are designed to serve around 50 houses, but the one outside his house will only be for 17 houses. And he said there is to be another bin hub directly opposite, on the other side of the street. "The total capacity will be way over what’s needed, but the council says people should not have to cross the road to go to the bins. I’m 100 per cent certain our neighbours would be quite happy to cross the road to the bin hub if it meant none of us had to endure this horrendous predicament. If we could just cross the road it would solve the problem.”

Lothian Tory MSP Miles Briggs, who took up the Ramages’ case, said: “This is a dissatisfactory decision by Edinburgh council to put a bin in this location despite the impact it will have on residents. Edinburgh council has shown a lack of consideration for property owners who now have a huge bin in front of their sitting room window.

“The use of big bins across the capital in front of people’s homes is stressful for residents, such as Mr Ramage, and affect the value of properties. They also take away from the character of Edinburgh. These bins will have an impact on people’s mental wellbeing, as well as their day to day life. Edinburgh Council must quickly find a different solution for bin collection, such as the use of underground bins, like they do in other cities around the world.”

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A council spokesperson said: “We’re really keen to work with local people on the roll out of these communal bin hubs and minimise disruption where we can. After a resident raised concerns about this particular site, we chose to review our plans for Joppa Road. We revisited other options in the area but the site came back as the most suitable – for the majority of households it will serve, for pavement heights to access bins and for the wider street in terms of pedestrian crossings, traffic lights and disabled parking bays.”

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