A vulnerable woman who lives in supported accommodation to escape a violent relationship no longer feels safe as people reportedly keep setting fire to the bins outside her home.

Sarah (whose name we have changed to protect her identity) moved to accommodation in Accrington 10 years ago and loves the close-knit community.

But in the last couple of years she claims the flats have been plagued by antisocial behaviour and arson attacks with wheelie bins regularly being set on fire.

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The flats are managed by Onward Homes and, in a bid to tackle the bin issue, plans have been unveiled to create a caged wheelie bin store area on a piece of grass at the front of Sarah's downstairs flat.

Onward Homes, previously known as Symphony Housing Group, was set up in 2018 and brought together several housing associations including Liverpool Housing Trust, Hyndburn Homes, Peak Valley Housing Association and Ribble Valley Homes.

"They say the current system of having bins outside residents' flats isn't working so they want to move the problem to outside my door; it beggars belief," Sarah, who suffers from mental health issues, told LancsLive.

"How is that solving the problem? They're just moving it from one place to another and now I'm terrified that I'll end up with all the antisocial behaviour centred outside my flat.

"I moved here so I could be safe but now I don't feel safe."

Site: The grassed area where the bin cage will be built
Site: The grassed area where the bin cage will be built

Sarah, who regularly volunteers with the foodbank, has contacted Accrington MP Sara Britcliffe with her concerns. In an email sent to Sarah by the MP, seen by LancsLive, Miss Britcliffe says she has raised the issue with Onward Homes.

"They've already got permission to build the bin cage so I can't see them changing their minds but they need to reconsider the decision," Sarah said.

"I feel like I'm being targeted. If the bins aren't safe outside residents' homes then how are they going to be safe here with them all in one place and outside my home?

"I don't feel safe round here anymore. It's not that I just don't want the bins outside my house it's that the bins seem to be the source of the antisocial behaviour and it's like they're dumping it all on my doorstep."

A spokesperson for Onward Homes said: “We are working with residents at St Leger Court to address ongoing issues with bin storage across the estate. When the estate was first built, there was a limited number of bins and often these were stored against the side of properties, which created a fire hazard.

"In response, we undertook a consultation with our residents to present alternative options for bin storage to address these issues, including either individual or communal bin stores.

"The majority of residents indicated a preference for communal bin storage, and we have since planned the location of bin stores across the estate. We have carefully chosen the locations of the bin stores to ensure that there are no fire hazards. The planned locations provide the safest option for our residents and meet all safety regulations.

"We are aware of Ms Davies’ concerns and will be in contact with her to discuss these and provide reassurance.”

LancsLive has contacted Sara Britcliffe, Lancashire Police and Lancashire Fire & Rescue Service for a comment.

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