FLAT-DWELLERS in New Addington are starting 2013 still without doorstep rubbish collections, two years after a boycott was announced on safety grounds.
Residents of the private flats above Central Parade have since had to haul their rubbish down unlit, slippery stairs deemed too dangerous for the council's rubbish collector, Veolia Environmental Services.
Delays over lighting the stairwells is thought to be the main reason behind Veolia's decision to continue collecting rubbish only from street level.
Emma Washington, 22, who lives in one of the flats, said: "The stairs are very slippery and the hygiene is awful. It is hard to manage them, especially with my little boy."
Neighbour Kevin Spinks, 34, said: "It is fair enough they don't collect them because it is very dark. It is OK for me but there are elderly people here, too."
A spokesman for Veolia said it would consider reinstating the rubbish collections if the lighting and other problems were addressed.
He said: "The arrangements made for residents to put out their refuse once a week are still in place and are working satisfactorily.
"However, if the owners do carry out repair work to the staircases then we will of course look at reverting to the previous collection system."
Lighting in the stairwells was delayed due to power companies squabbling over which firm should provide the electricity, as the Advertiser reported last November.
Traders on the parade have now installed new lights and say they are waiting for UK Power Networks to install the electricity supply.
UK Power Networks, however, claims it is ready to carry out its work and is waiting to be told when it should start.
Company spokesman James Barber said: "We are trying our best to resolve this issue."
Ward councillor Tony Pearson said: "I do not think it is right the residents are suffering in this way. Until we get the lights fixed, Veolia will not go up there. There are no other issues they have told us about."
The new lights have been paid for with some of the £50,000 pledged by London mayor Boris Johnson in the summer to improve New Addington.
The borough's Greater London Assembly (GLA) member, Steve O'Connell, said: "We had a site visit there a couple of weeks ago and we – the council, the GLA and the traders – are all pushing to get the stairwells lit."