FRAIL pensioners are being told to drag their wheelie bins up to 100 yards along a potholed road in Trowbridge – because refuse lorries won’t drive down it to protect their workers.

The residents of the unadopted section of Clarendon Road, of which the majority are in their seventies and eighties, were told by Wiltshire Council last week in a letter that they would have to heave their bins to the end of the street because of fears for the health and safety of binmen.

The council added that the potholes could cause damage to vehicle tyres.

But many of the residents have said that they would struggle to drag their bins along the unlit, pothole-ridden road, especially on darker winter days, as the street has no lighting.

They rang the council with furious complaints and have been promised a meeting with the council and bin contractor Focsa.

Celyn Varnam, 78, a former refuse collector himself, said: “I did this job about 17 years ago and this road, even with its potholes, is like a motorway for these refuse vans compared to the conditions they face on the landfill sites they visit. To say the tyres could be damaged is ridiculous.

“I live close to the entrance of the street and even then I would struggle to get my bin up there with my arthiritis. If we do manage to get the bins there what’s to stop there being an accident if a dozen bins are left in the road? This whole health and safety lark has gone mad.”

Beverly Scott, the council’s waste and recycling technical officer, told residents in a letter: “The refuse collection crew in your area have advised me of a health and safety issue when trying to load your bins on to the lifters.

“The surface condition of the unadopted part of Clarendon Road is preventing the bins being safely manoeuvred for emptying, putting the operatives at risk. Additionally there is a risk that the potholes could cause damage to the vehicle tyres.”

Resident Cynthia Hole, who is just inches taller than her own wheelie bin, will have to drag it 100 yards to the end of the road.

She said: “I’m not very keen to walk up to the top with my bin. It would be very difficult for me, especially in the winter months. It is just not on.”

Neighbour Jennifer Dickson said: “We just want our bins collected from outside our homes again. It has always been done this way. The population here is elderly and not in the best of health.”

Mum-of-two Caroline Wilkinson -said: “To be honest all four of us could probably take the bins out that far but it is the other more elderly residents that I fear for. It was quite upsetting when I read the letter.

“I think it would be just as great a health and safety risk to leave all the bins at the top of the road as it is to collect them from our houses.

“I’d also be worried that if I’m not there to collect my bin straight away it could be damaged or even stolen because we cannot see the top of the road from here.”

A Wiltshire Council spokesman said: “We understand residents’ concerns and are meeting them with a representative from our contractor Focsa to resolve the situation. Focsa is concerned about the safety of their staff and the public, however will continue with the current collection arrangements while the matter is resolved.

“Unfortunately as this is a private road, we are unable to use public funds to maintain it.”

South West Wilts MP Andrew Murrison said: “In light of what I have heard I want to find out exactly what the council wants to do.

“I can appreciate that the council has to balance the health and safety of both its employees and the residents, but the decision does seem a little odd.”