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Builders urged to improve design of household facilities

Underground storage and shared bins on street corners are among suggestions in a report on the design of waste facilities in new housing developments.

The NHBC Foundation, which offers research and guidance to the house-building industry, says a survey of 325 local authorities indicated a “huge disparity” in the number of bins required in each area.

Nearly two-thirds (212) required households to have four or more bins and other waste containers, while homeowners in Newcastle-under-Lyme were said to need nine. In two areas, just one was needed.

The NHBC report Avoiding Rubbish Design: providing for bin storage on new housing developments says that insufficient attention is given to how bins are accommodated on new housing developments. Certain types, such as terraced houses, present a particular challenge to designers, it adds.

The report urges house-builders to consider the following points when designing collection facilities:

  • reduced visual impact
  • adequate space for the number and size of bins and other containers
  • convenience of use, including by residents with reduced mobility
  • solutions are durable, low maintenance and cleanable
  • odour and noise issues
  • other health and safety issues, including fire and vermin
  • arrangements for collection days
  • impact on use of pavements and streets by pedestrians and vehicles

The report provides guidance for designers, and the foundation hopes the research will lead to designs for bin/recycling container stores which could be adopted widely by the industry.

Neil Smith, head of research and innovation, said: “Ill thought-out waste storage creates a real challenge, and it sometimes seems as if insufficient attention is given to how bins are accommodated on new housing developments.

“Designers need to find practical ways to hide numerous wheelie bins and other containers. Alternatively, the time may have come for Britain’s house-building industry to consider more radical solutions to solve the bin blight problem, such as shared facilities on street corners or underground bin storage.”

Eric Pickles, secretary of state for communities and local government, said the Government was committed to tackling the scourge of ‘bin blight’.

“Far too many of our streets are still dominated by the ugly clutter of unsightly bins, which ruin the look of families’ homes and gardens,” he said. “This common sense guide, backed by revised planning rules and building regulations, will help ensure that the housing industry raises its game when building new homes.”

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