Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Riverside Housing is discouraging residence to cycle and killing the wildlife

Residents in one of Riverside’s property in Potato Wharf/Woolam Place, Manchester, are concern that the property management is disregarding its own Environmental Policy that claims to care about the need for “concerted action to combat the detrimental effects of carbon emissions”.

Riverside prefers car than bicycles

In early August, residents received a note saying that all bicycles should be removed from the common area and should be “stored within your own flat or chained externally.” Four residents emailed its Resident Relation Gayle Shackley to ask for a solution since there is no place to chain the bicycles safely outside and it is impossible to drag a bicycle up the stairs to second and third flour.

The reply was appalling. One, she decline the proposal to install bicycle storage in the car park area stating that there is no space. Resident and leaseholder Bosco Fernandez came up with this proposal, “I wish to clarify that we are not requesting you to replace any existing parking bays with bicycle racks or lockers; we would like you to consider installing storage facilities behind the parking bays under the two arches at Potato Wharf that are closest to the gates. These arches have unused areas between the bays and the rear wall. The free area in the arch closest to the gate measures 12m x 3.3m and the free area in the adjacent arch measures 7.2m x 3.3m.”

In reply to this proposal, Riverside’s Gayle Shackley wrote, “If cycle storage provision results in cyclists having to wheel their bicycles between 2 parked cars as the only means of getting their bicycle out, it leads to potential damage to those cars.”

On the whole, Riverside is just not willing to give any solution to residents who want to cycle to work or within the city centre, even though it was clear in their Environmental Policy that “Nationally and globally there is a growing awareness of the need for concerted action to combat the detrimental effects of carbon emissions and their impact on climate change. This is relevant to all businesses including housing providers and impacts on various aspects of business practice including development of new properties, procurement of goods and services, building facilities, transport and waste management.”

A number of residents were also concerned and expressed this by emailing Riverside. However, the response was that, “Since you are not a leaseholder, we are not going to deal with you.”

Killing the wildlife

On Friday 3rd September, residents came home to see that the only green patch in front of the Potato Wharf apartments is gone. Without acknowledging the residents, Riverside cut all the lavender and lilac bushes and all the ivy climbers that made the wall green, and with this, destroying two sparrow nests and a blue tit nest in the bush.

Residents are now waiting to see their next move, whether or not they will replant some flowers or any plant in the flower beds. After all, flower beds are intended to house plants.

With the very few chance to observe wildlife within the city centre area, residents with bird feeders had been enjoying the company of a number of blue tits, great tits, sparrows, gold finches, green finches and even the rare bullfinches that categorised as Species of European Conservation Concern by the RSPB.

These birds are now homeless and probably dead thanks to Riverside.

Residents’ actions

With all the anti-environmental actions that Riverside committed, residents of Potato Wharf and Woolam Place are now in correspondence with their local councillors. So far, Councillor Marc Ramsbottom has encouraged residents to check with Manchester City Council planning policy regarding the environment. According to Councillor Ramsbottom, even though private housing management such as Riverside are not directly under City Council regulation, there are guidelines regarding environmental policy that they should not disregard.

A number of residents of Potato Wharf and Woolam Place will soon be meeting their councillors to discuss this matter.

In the meantime, discussions with Riverside are stagnant as Riverside refused to communicate with non-leaseholders and has been declining all proposal visible.

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