OK, so Brighton & Hove City Council wanted to drop the costs of collecting refuse & recyclables: fair enough, costs must have risen dramatically since the Government quite rightly decreed that recyclables should be collected separately. So, wheelie bins were the solution, unless it was decided that your road just happened to be unsuitable for wheelie bins. All around Brighton, but especially in the Preston Park Conservation Area, people hated the idea of the dreaded green monster bins. My ex-wife’s street escaped, prompting us to wonder which of the City’s councillors or officials lived there.

Then our wheelie bins were delivered. I live in a small block of six flats. Of course the bins wouldn’t fit inside the bin store used by the residents in our property for the last 30 years, so we collectively, albeit reluctantly, decided we’d modify the area of the store at our own cost.

Over the course of a week, the bins filled up. Unfortunately, when Thursday came around, there was no collection from our bins. Luckily a resident spotted this while the operatives were still on the job and asked why. “Insurance” they said; “We’re not insured to collect away from the roadside”. Of course it hasn’t stopped them collecting for the last 30 years, but that’s progress I suppose.

Several residents rang the Brighton and Hove City Council (sounds much more accurate with a speech impediment) to register our complaints. They assured us that in fact our bins should be collected as before, and that the crew would be instructed to collect our bins from outside our bin store. The following week, however, there was no collection either. Nor the next week. In fact it went on for four weeks before the council’s operatives emptied our now overflowing and stinking bins.

The following week, our bins disappeared. Our complainant was informed, when he rang the Council, that it had been decided that two bins rather than six would be sufficient for our block (of six flats, three of which are temporarily unoccupied), and that the remaining bins would be collected from the roadside only. That’s actually a 100 metre round-trip for me to empty my rubbish, not including the stairs I’ve always had to negotiate.

Actually I’d much rather take the rubbish a shorter distance, for example to the boot of my car, and drive it to the council offices for dumping in a more suitable waste facility. A lady from the Council advised me however that the Council would very likely fine me up to £2,000 for fly-tipping if I were to protest in this way.

Rather heavy-handed, this “City” Council of ours. Heavy-handed, incompetent, and arrogant. Trouble is, that sounds so stereotypically accurate a description of local government, doesn’t it.

If you’re in the business of pest-control, get yourself to Brighton sharpish. I feel a boom coming on.