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Wash day woe for Stratford man

MARK Spriggs (pictured) feels like he’s been hung out to dry after a nearby resident to his property said they would complain to his housing association if he continues to dry his washing outside.

Mark dutifully washes his clothes, his partner’s clothes and their nine-month-old baby’s clothes and puts them on a clothes horse near his front door. But this simple household chore, which has been done by generations of people, has drawn the ire of a nearby resident who has threatened to complain about his four foot high clothes horse.

Mark lives in a flat belonging to Orbit Heart of England. Orbit have made no complaint or observation to him about drying his washing. However, a private resident who lives over 200 metres away got so worked up about Mark’s washing they complained to his neighbours in Portia Road, Stratford and suggested they would take the matter further with Orbit if he continued to dry his clothes outside.

According to Mark, the private resident said they had worked hard to save up money to buy a property in Stratford; what they didn’t want to look out on was Mark’s clothes horse which contains nothing more controversial than jumpers, shirts and baby clothes.

“I don’t know who the complainant is because they didn’t speak to me, they spoke to one of my neighbours who told me what happened. Whoever they are, they must have a myopic view on the world rather than a common sense outlook. For centuries people have dried their washing in the sun and the wind, my family certainly have. If you go the Mediterranean you will see lines of washing hanging from balconies as people dry their clothes and socialise with each other. It saddens me that we live in a society where vanity and self-interest take precedence over the infinite resources we have. We are all encouraged to be environmentally friendly and watch our carbon foot print, so what am I supposed to do? Dry the clothes on a radiator or heater and use up electricity when I could dry them in the fresh air?” Mark said.

The complaint by the private resident was made two weeks ago. Mark dries his clothes on a peaceful patch of grass in front of his flat which is owned by Orbit. The clothes are unobtrusive and cannot be seen from the road and he says he will continue to dry clothes outdoors when the weather permits.

“How can anyone take offence at a clothes horse?” Mark asks. “I think some people need to get off their high horse and get out the clothes horse. I am environmentally conscious and don’t see why I should use electricity when the clothes can dry in the sun and the wind, which are natural resources.”

In a completely unrelated issue which occurred last year and at a separate Orbit property, Mark was written to by the housing association and told not to hang his washing outside, Orbit even advised him to consider buying a tumble dryer.

“I can’t afford one and at my previous property I didn’t have the space for one, more importantly, have you seen how much electricity a tumble dryer uses?” said Mark.

This week Orbit Kevin Hornsby, Head of Housing, Orbit Heart of England said: “Drying clothing in open spaces is a common practice amongst people who wish to minimise damp and condensation in their home, help protect the environment and keep their electricity bills to a minimum and we understand that. Therefore, we would not usually discourage our customers from drying laundry outdoors. However, we are happy to look into any concerns raised with us.”

In the meantime, its wash days as normal for Mark and his family.

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