East Cambridgeshire District Council is proposing changes to some of its waste collections to prevent the risk of spending unnecessary money on damage caused by the disrepair of the area’s private and unadopted roads.
At Operational Services Committee on 18th November, East Cambridgeshire District Council (ECDC) members unanimously voted to approve a plan which would review waste collections for 2,249 properties which are located on unadopted and private roads.
These roads across the district – owned by individuals or organisations and not the responsibility of Cambridgeshire County Council – have fallen into a state of disrepair, causing damage to refuse trucks.
As a result, ECDC has been picking up increased bills for vehicle maintenance and repair.
The homeowners living on the affected roads will be receiving a letter from the council which will outline the new arrangements and invite them to liaise with the council to come to an agreed resolution.
East Cambs Street Scene, who are responsible for the delivery of waste services for East Cambridgeshire, will continue to provide unchanged collections for the short-term to allow residents time to review the letter from the council and respond.
David Ambrose-Smith, Chairman of the Operational Services Committee, said: “We are committed to delivering a weekly waste collection service for all residents however there have been some problems with providing this service to people who live on poorly-maintained private or unadopted roads.
“Potholes, overgrown trees, flooding, debris, gravel and cracks all contribute to damage to our vehicles which is expensive to repair.
It is also important for us to ensure that waste collections are undertaken with the safety of the East Cambs Street Scene team and residents in mind.”
Councillor Julia Huffer, champion for waste services, added: “Homeowners who are affected will be notified with a letter from the council regarding the action required.
“This letter will outline the options they have for their waste to be collected. We are keen to work with residents to find an amicable agreement where possible.”
A policy for waste collection will be sent to all 2,249 properties who live on a private or unadopted road. This details the conditions which need to be met for the road to be a suitable standard for waste collections to continue to take place from the property boundary.
Majority of properties are located on roads that are already at this standard and the council requires an indemnity form to be signed to continue collections in the same way.
Three roads, comprising of 48 properties, will require some work to be undertaken before they are at a suitable standard. If they are repaired to the conditions stated waste collections from the property boundary are possible. If the road is not repaired to a suitable standard, the council will work with residents to find an agreed collection point close to the highway.
What is a private road?
A private road is a road owned and maintained by a private individual, organisation, or company rather than by Cambridgeshire County Council (who are responsible for public adopted roads).
What is an unadopted road?
Unadopted roads refer to roads which do not have to be adequately maintained by the highway authority under the Highways Act 1980. A legal duty to maintain these roads still exists, but it falls onto the owners of the road, which usually consists of the owners of any properties fronting that highway
How do I find out who owns my road?
This is usually covered in the title deeds of the house
What do I need to do if I rent this property?
If you rent a property and you have received a letter from us, we would ask you to pass the information you have received onto the owner of the property. The owner of the property is the only person that can sign an indemnity agreement.
What if I am in a new build property?
It is likely that the unadopted road is the responsibility of the housing developer. Please get in contact with them in the first instance. If you have any further questions, please contact our customer services team.
Why am I required to sign an indemnity agreement?
A signed indemnity agreement will be required from each property owner on the road so that East Cambs District Council will not be liable for any damage due to wear and tear to the road surface which may not have been built to highway standard.
If every property owner on the road does not sign an indemnity agreement, then a collection from the adopted highway will be necessary.
Why are you changing the waste collection service?
East Cambs District Council has in some cases, operated a collection point for waste at the edge of a property, not from the adopted highway and this approach has resulted in waste vehicles suffering damage from some of the district’s unadopted and private roads that are in a very poor condition and the council has incurred vehicle repair and maintenance costs.
East Cambs District Council must ensure that mitigations are put in place to reduce possible insurance claims and repair costs caused as a result of substandard private and unadopted roads
Where is my collection point?
East Cambs District Council have, and will continue to, implement waste collections with the least disruption to residents as possible. Before determining collection changes, we would like to consult with property owners. We want to work with residents to find an amicable solution that works for them as well as East Cambs District Council. More information on this is included within the letter sent to affected properties.
What happens now?
The letter we have sent provides full details of the issues (if any) that exist with your road and when we will need the signed indemnity returned to East Cambs District Council.
Please note collections will continue as normal until the dates specified at which point we may contact you again if there are further issues on your private road that we cannot resolve.