My back lane folly continues. It's pretty hard work in a number of ways, but there is progress and to be honest, in this ever increasingly self-interested, far too busy, sorry I have to dash world, that is good enough for me. This week I managed to tidy up the lane all the way to one end which means I am over half complete.
Gaynor and I sat in the sunshine in the lane yesterday afternoon and had a glass of wine, well we'd been sweeping and shifting for hours, so who cares that it wasn't even five o'clock. Here are the two letters, one to a resident of Byrom Street who insists of dumping his garden waste in the alley, the other to the Head of Trafford Council.
And people say I'm not an optimist.
My name is Andrew and I live at
10 Willowtree Road.
I have spent today breaking down and filling four green bins, borrowed with my
neighbour’s permission, with the bamboo and other green waste you dumped in our
alley. I have also moved the already full bin that has sat there for the last
six weeks or so as it is collection day tomorrow.
My reasons for doing this are various; firstly as the act of a good neighbour as the mess was getting some of the residents nerves. Secondly it is a health hazard and a number of years ago it was just such a situation that let to a rat infestation. We spent many weekends, and hundreds of pounds on skips clearing the alley and it has remained pretty clear until now thanks to the residents of
We do this because, although it is a public thoroughfare, it is our legal responsibility to keep it clear as we are liable. It is
access alley, not Byrom Street’s.
You access is through the gates you each have to enter each others gardens. In
fact you shouldn’t have rear access to Willowtree alley at all, although some
have put in gates.
My other reason for this is that I am trying to interest Willowtree residents in the RHS’s Green Up Grey Britain Campaign and would like our alley to be a pleasant and safe place to walk through. I have the support and am in touch with The Head of Trafford Council on this matter and many Willowtree residents have contributed funds to this end. If you would like to contribute to pay for my efforts today please feel free.
I hope that this makes sense to you and explains things. I thought it better to write it down so that we are clear. I have no problem clearing up such a huge amount of rubbish this once, but I am not going to make it a habit. In effect you are fly-tipping, so I would ask that you remove the hard rubbish and the ladders from the alley as soon as you can. The ladders are a particular problem as they have security issues which may affect your insurance if a neighbour is broken into with them.
Summer rolls on and the urban lane begins to green up. Interest from my neighbours is growing slowly with a few pounds for weedkiller and gas for the weed burner occasionally passing hands. My next door neighbour waters when I am away and compliments abound from all. But I could really do with something to make them fully sit up and become more involved.
I've spent the last couple of days clearing and sweeping the lower end of the lane, trimming back ivy and overhanging shrubs, so now there is a large stretch of very respectable thoroughfare. I'd like to get some signs made asking people to enjoy the space but not to drop litter or leave behind their dog mess, and erect them either end of the lane on the walls. Something fun rather than threatening.
We have had one problem. A resident of
Street keeps clearing his garden of bamboo and
shrubs and throwing it over the fence into the lane. It sits there for weeks,
so on this occasion I have moved it (all five green bins full) and written to
him, explaining what we are trying to do and why, and asking him not to do it again.
Mind you this is at least the second time he has been asked not to fly-tip in
this way. It annoys all of the neigbours I have spoken to particularly as Byrom Street has no
real right of access.
I’m sure though that all of this can be resolved, and when I put out another communication I will include
Street residents who back onto us.
I noticed in the Manchester Weekly News of the Be Prouds 'Upping It' scheme in Manchester. They are receiving £7,600 from
council's clean city fund. I was
wondering if there are any plans to extend this to Trafford. I'm not talking
thousands but it would be great to be able to buy matching planters for the
walls of our lane and it might inspire people to do more, giving them that
little push they need. Manchester
Anyway, it is a much pleasanter spot these days (we even had a huge emerald green dragonfly dancing around this afternoon) and over the next couple of weeks I intend to clear the remaining 60 yards or so if my back holds out. I will then write again to my neighbours and ask them to take some responsibility for keeping it as tidy as possible. Just a thirty foot sweep behind their own properties every week or two, and a bit of hot weather watering, would do it.
Finally, my wife still thinks I'm made but at least she's helping with the clearing ;-)