THE decision to charge residents of a new affordable housing development in Lyme Regis for their bins has been described as “disgraceful” by members of the town council.
Residents of the new Garmans Field development off Timber Hill have been asked to pay £54 each for their refuse and recycling bins – a new policy which has just been introduced by Dorset Wast Partnership (DWP) to cover admin and delivery costs.
Lyme Regis Community Land Trust, which secured the land and funding for the affordable housing development and ensured all houses went to local people, applied to the town council for a grant of £810 to cover the costs of the 15 sets of bins.
The request was considered as part of the council’s annual minor and medium grants for local organisations on Wednesday night. While members disagreed that the residents should be charged, they turned down the grant application as they did not think it was the right place for the money to come from.
Twenty-nine local clubs and organisations applied for a total of £69,275.79 against the council’s budget of £47,000 for minor and medium grants. Each were allowed to apply for a maximum of £5,000. After considering each application one by one, it was revealed that councillors had given away £37,670, coming in about £10,000 under budget.
When discussing the Community Land Trust’s application, the Mayor of Lyme Regis, Councillor Michaela Ellis, said she was concerned that paying for the bins would set a precedent for all new housing developments in the town.
She said they should have been provided by the developer, Yarlington Housing Group, and built into the cost of the houses.
Town and district councillor Cheryl Reynolds said the policy had been changed at the last minute, and the residents were not expecting to have to pay for their bins. It was also reported that if the tenants bought their own, cheaper bins their waste would not be collected by DWP.
Councillor Reynolds added: “This is social housing. Remember when you needed your first social house? Paying £54 for bins would have been dreadful on top of everything else.”
Councillor Owen Lovell said he thought it was a “disgrace” that DWP were charging tenants of social housing for their bins. He said that whatever the outcome of the grant application, he hoped that the town council would follow the matter up with a letter objecting to the “disgusting charge”.
Councillor Jeff Scowen added: “It is a disgrace but we can’t pay for them out of these grants, it’s well out of order. I feel for the tenants and we should right a letter. Someone should pay for them but not out of these grants.”
Councillor Ellis said the grant would only benefit the tenants of Garmans Field and not the rest of the community, but Councillor Reynolds said she could not see the difference between this and other local organisations that received grants, as not everyone was a member of these groups.
Councillor Ellis argued that other groups were “open to everyone to join”.
Councillor Steve Miller added: “This does not stand up as something we should provide as a grant.”
He suggested that the matter should be taken to the next Town Management & Highways Committee meeting, and that the council should write a letter “in the strongest terms saying they are disadvantaging people in social housing”.
It was agreed not to give the Community Land Trust a grant but to follow up the matter with DWP.
Local organisations receive £37,000
Other organisations to have their grant applications turned down included Lyme Regis Brownies, whose request for £260.50 to purchase equipment was rejected because it missed the deadline. An application for LymeForward was also turned down before the meeting because it missed the deadline and because the organisation already receives a major grant from the council.
A request for £900 from Black Ven Poetry and Beachwood Adventures to stage a spoken word slam for children was rejected because it was not from a constituted organisation, a condition in the council’s grants policy.
Councillors also turned down an application for £3,395 for restart-up costs and testing of an open-top bus for the Mendip Mule Motorbus. Members said they could not support the application as the company ceased trading shortly after they provided a grant last year. Owner Derek Gawn is now hoping to re-start the business.
The organisation to receive the biggest grant of the evening was Bridport & District Citizens Advice Bureau, which received £4,930 for its weekly outreach service in Lyme. The Town Mill Trust received £4,470 to upgrade its public toilets; Lyme Regis Sea School and Guitars On The Beach were both given £3,500; and the 1st Lym Valley Scouts received £3,000 to revamp the toilets and showers at their Scout hut.
Axe Valley Ring & Ride was given £2,500 for its community transport service; both Lyme Regis Musical Theatre and Uplyme & Lyme Regis Cricket Club went home with £2,000; Turn Lyme Green received £1,500 towards its ‘plastic free’ campaign; and Lyme Kids Club, Lyme Regis Taekwondo Club and St Michael’s Primary School PFA received £1,000 each.
It was also agreed to underwrite Lyme Folk Festival up to £1,000 but not to give organisers a direct grant.
Smaller grants were as follows: 1st Charmouth Scouts – £250; Dorset Youth – £290; Get Together Club – £815; Harbour Voices – £750; Life Education – £550; Lyme Regis Gig Club – £700; Lyme Regis Guides – £165; Jazz Jurassica – £950; Lyme Regis Majorettes – £800; Lyme Regis Pantomime Society – £500; Lyme Regis Over 70s Christmas Dinner – £300; Western Area Transport Action Group – £200.