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Jamie-Law, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 6454
Experience:  Solicitor
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Is the council responsible for collecting rubbish on private

Customer Question

is the council responsible for collecting rubbish on private land i.e in front of a parade of shops, where there is a public right of way?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 1 year ago.

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.

Could you please explain your situation a little more?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello, for some reason you have only received the first sentence of my message. I will rewrite it now. We privately own land with a parade of shops, and pavements out the front. The pavements have always been a public right of way and as such the council have always cleansed the area and taken care of the rubbish collections. Many years ago they placed bins on the pavements and have been collecting the rubbish ever since. Recently they have told us that as this is private land they are not responsible and will not continue with their service unless we pay for the service. The bins are now overflowing and there is a rubbish issue whilst we try to sort out who is responsible. We have sent someone to empty the bins this week, however this is not possible as the bins have special locks on them which only the council hold keys to. We have asked the council for a key which we are yet to receive. I am trying to establish who is responsible for cleaning and rubbish as this land is privately owned but has always been a public right of way, for at least 60 years. Thank you.
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 1 year ago.

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.

Just to be clear, do you accept it is not Council land?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
that's right, it is private land but the council have always cleansed it. It has public right of way over it as it is a means of getting between adjoining council owned land ie public roads, etc.
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 1 year ago.

If it is not their land there is no obligation on them to clean it, even if it is a public right of way.

That obligation would only apply if it was their land or it was adopted, but that does not appear to be the case here.

As such there is no right for them to cleanse it, but I will outline the process for you to take it further, although I fear you may not be successful.

You should first write to the Chief Officer's office and make a formal complaint. That Office will investigate what you have to say and report back to you.
Then and only then can you complain to the Local Government Ombudsman. They offer a free, independent service and can investigate your complaint at:

That may resolve the issue for you.

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi, Ok thanks. Can you just confirm, re the Chief Officer, is that a position at the local council?
If we are unsuccessful, can we insist that the council remove their bins at their expense and make good the ground where they need to be removed from? It is impossible for us to even take over and use their bins because of the issue with the key.
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 1 year ago.

Yes Chief Officer at the Council.

Yes they can remove the bins - its not their land!
Does that clarify?

Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 1 year ago.

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