Edinburgh resident says she spent Christmas alone because she was so embarrassed by smelly bins at her block of flats

A woman says she spent Christmas and Hogmanay alone because she was too embarrassed by the sight and smell of overflowing bins at her block of flats to have her family visit her.

Tuesday, 11th January 2022, 4:55 am

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Clare Devlin, from Piershill Square East, said the bins outside her main door have been a constant problem since they were installed a few months ago and she has to fill in online complaint forms to the council almost every day.

The idea of welcoming her relatives to such a scene of squalor for festive celebrations was just too much.

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She said: “I usually go to them but I had a courtesy car this year and I couldn't take my dog, so they said they would come to me but I was too embarrassed by the bins, smell and rubbish at my main door and the whole square.

“So I just spent Christmas and Hogmanay alone.

I cannot emphasise how depressing it is to live in an area which looks like a slum. The rubbish blows all over the square and there's glass and dog poo and it stinks."

Ms Devlin said a notice about the new bin hub was posted on a lamppost in August. “That was apparently our opportunity to give feedback, but it made no sense whatsoever, I had no idea what it was about, no one noticed it and they received no feedback.

The council says it is still in the process of completing the changes.

“As a result they installed the new bin bays and one of them is immediately in front of my front door – you open the main stair door and the bin is directly in front of you."

She said the council’s explanation for the positioning of the hub was “to make sure no-one has to walk more than a certain distance”.

“But the bigger problem is the bins are never cleaned, you have to open them with your hands, they overflow constantly, some of them don’t have lids, all the litter blows around the square and they are not always put back facing the right way so you have to stand in the road to open them."

The hub in front of her door has two landfill and one foodwaste bin, but she said the landfill ones quickly fill up and then people leave landfill on the ground or put it in the food bin, which the binmen then won’t empty.

“The ground and the foodwaste bin don’t get cleared unless I fill in an online report form. I'm emailing them most days.”

A council spokesperson said: “We are in the process of introducing new communal bin hubs in Piershill Square East as part of our city-wide communal bin review, which aims to make waste collections more efficient and to improve the service for residents, providing increased capacity and a more reliable service.

“We are aware of some concerns from local residents and apologise for any inconvenience caused. While we await the installation of the remaining recycling bins in the coming months we have arranged for the frequency of collections to be increased.

“This location was chosen as it is felt to be the most appropriate for local residents, including ease of access and walking distance for the households it serves, and will ultimately make recycling easier for all those who live in the area.”

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