My Bron Afon

Team work makes the dream work!

Alison talks about how working together helps get even the biggest jobs sorted

“I would like to share a story with you of how good communication and great team work between departments made amazing things happen.

“I was out and about checking some areas recently for flytipping. I was keeping safe and staying away from everyone as I walked about. I spotted a fridge on some land managed by the council. Just as I was about to send them a message about the fridge and other items around the area to get them removed, I was approached by 3 residents from different streets. We all maintained social distancing but they asked if I worked for Bron Afon as they wished to make us aware of some other issues nearby. We had a little tour and I started writing a list.

“I was then approached by a further resident, (this happens alot when walking my rounds but I always think about my safety and theirs and keep my distance) I was asked if I could call on a lady in Greenmeadow. She’d been trying for some time to get hold of us about one of our properties that was next door to her’s. It had become a empty just before lockdown.

“It’s very strange visiting people and keeping socially distant but we managed to have a chat, the lady told me all about the issues and problems she had been experiencing with the empty house next door.

“There were vermin entering her house and they appeared to be coming from our empty house next door. She told me that so far she had caught 29 mice inside her home using traps!

“I had a look at our empty property next door, it had been left in a bit of a mess and was still full of furniture.

“Our Contractors had started to empty the property but because of the signs that there were vermin such as droppings, they had stopped all work. Pest control had been booked to visit and deal with the vermin but had not been out yet. So all work had stopped.

“We also had a look at the front garden which had overgrown the footpath and become a bit of a trip hazard to both her family and her elderly mother. The overgrown area made it virtually impossible for them to get up and down the path safely. Let alone the poor postman! So they had no choice but to struggle through the overgrowth to get to and from their home.

“We spoke about the ladies frustration at the state of the property next door and how she had struggled to get someone to come out and look at it. I explained that we still weren’t back to normal so everything was a bit of a challenge still.

“Once we’d looked at the front garden. The lady and I started talking about the back garden. (I was in for a shock!) I could see through the windows of the empty house that it looked quite bad. Ash trees had grown up passing the dining room window.

“I went around to the side gate of the property and was taking back by what I found. I could hardly open the gate with what was growing behind it. From the gate you could clearly see the growth of trees as tall as the bedroom windows. (I just about managed to wedge the gate open enough to take a picture.) Brambles covered the width of the garden and you couldn’t put a pin between it all. I noticed several black bags of what I thought looked like food waste had been ripped open too. It was a real jungle!

“I reassured her that I was on the case and would do my best to get this issue sorted out. I also made sure that she understood that we weren’t back to normal as I didn’t want to get her hopes up for a super-fast solution!

“I couldn’t remember which Community Housing Officer covered Greenmeadow as there had been some recent changes. So I got in touch with Emma Fish. She was so quick to respond to my email! Emma spoke with the relevant departments who then picked this up as a priority.

“Really pleased, I called the lady back and gave her the good news and to let her know to expect a call from someone soon.

“Within 3 days. From start to finish! We had facilities sending in the troops, chopping and hacking at the jungle. I spoke to the lady and kept her up to date with the whole process.

“The transformation was unbelievable! As you can see from the pictures we turned a jungle back into a garden! The lady was ecstatic with the outcome. I was also amazed we’d managed to sort it all so fast and safely during this challenging time.

“I might be the one out and about that people stop and talk to and share their issues, but without the people in the background I wouldn’t be able to fix anything! So a huge thank you to everyone for jumping to action checking it out and booking the work.

“A massive thanks to everyone for the effort they put in to making this happen.

“What a transformation. I’m so proud to have been part of it. Team work really does make the dream work!”

Alison Oates, our Community Enviroment Officer

Alison Oates