Cleaning up the community


Alley 1

Last week, a handful of our residents came together with local community group HARAG to clear up a communal alley way in Handsworth to improve the area for everyone.

A communal alley way running the length of almost 200 houses in Handsworth has become a centre for fly-tipping over the last few years, prompting the creation of the Headingley Alleyway and Road Action group (HARAG).

While only a handful of Midland Heart properties actually back on to the alley way, our residents were part of the driving force around the clean-up and hold key roles in HARAG.

What was the problem?

This particular alley way in Handsworth has become a dumping ground for fly-tippers, as well as a shelter for many homeless people because of the garages that run along it. The gates at either end of the alley – supposed to keep non-residents out – are broken, which means people can come and go as they please.

Items such as old mattresses, washing machines, bags of rubbish and broken furniture were dumped in the alley way, making it unusable and preventing residents from being able to access their properties via their back gates. Residents were also worried about the rubbish starting to attract pests and vermin to the area.

Cleaning up

Along with Birmingham City Council, our residents and HARAG came together to clear the alley way over two days - resulting in the space looking almost unrecognisable at the end of the second day!

A bin wagon did countless trips up and down the alley way and they also had a helping hand from the Birmingham City Council environmental health team and individuals taking part in a Community Payback programme.

Our Estates team went along to chat with residents and see the problem for themselves, and they couldn’t believe the transformation of the space over the two day clean-up!

Next steps

This alley way was last cleared about 5 years ago, which means the astonishing build-up of rubbish that was cleared was only created over the last few years!

To try and stop it from becoming a fly tipping zone again, and needing another clear up in 5 years’ time, residents and HARAG are raising funds for new and reinforced fencing at access points to the alley way. This should mean that non-residents aren’t able to get in and out of the road and so should put a stop to the fly-tipping.

They also have plans to develop the area into a community green space, to make sure it can be safely enjoyed by residents and help the area to thrive.

To find out more about HARAG and how you can get involved, search for Headingley Alleyway and Road Action Group on Facebook or email