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Barclay House is a development of 18 flats in Summertown, Oxford which includes a Marks and Spencer’s shop on the ground floor. The flats were previously offices but converted into flats in 2016.

Alan Draper, Managing Director of Common Ground stated “When I first visited the development, the bin store stood out for all the wrong reasons. It wasn’t fit for purpose due to size constraints and it stank with the smell permeating into the building”. Waste management issues are a common problem in block management.

Most of the flats are owned by investor landlords and the issues with the bin store were generating complaints to these parties and the freeholder. Additionally, the local council’s waste contractor was not helping by refusing to empty the bin store when it became overloaded, or bins were contaminated (wrong items placed in bins e.g. food waste in the recycling bin).

Something had to be done.

Upon appointment Common Ground immediately met with representatives from Oxford City’s waste team to arrange additional collections and to provide a point of contact within Common Ground should any issues arise which the waste team needed us to address.

Common Ground also initiated a program of educating the residents to use the bins in the correct manor to avoid “bin contamination” and minimise the risks of the council waste contractor refusing to empty the bins.

Alan Draper added “Due to the high proportion of investor-owned properties, turnover of residents is higher than most residential buildings so the education process is ongoing. New tenants have to be quickly educated to avoid a repeat of historical bin issues and we have processes in place to achieve this.”

Although there is no requirement for an annual general meeting, Common Ground still arranges these for both tenants and leaseholders. This process ensurers that all stakeholders have a say in the management of the building and allows Common Ground to re-inforce the messages about waste management.

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