Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting MG NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Wheelies have divided council
3:00pm Friday 25th January 2013 in News
THE controversial decision to introduce wheelie bins into Malvern may have been taken without the proper authority, a councillor has claimed.
Tony Warburton, who represents Alfrick and Leigh on Malvern Hills District Council, believes the council has acted improperly in pushing through the opinion-splitting plastic bins without councillors being asked for approval.
A switch to wheelie bins and fortnightly collections for recycling is set to take place in May after the council received £1.67 million of government funding.
Leader David Hughes and head of community services Ivor Pumfrey insist by approving the bid for funding, councillors had explicitly backed the introduction of the new scheme.
Coun Hughes has rejected Coun Warburton’s calls for full council to discuss the matter urgently, saying the council’s intentions were clear and he had checked this understanding with both the monitoring officer and council solicitor.
But Coun Warburton said he was very unhappy with that response, maintaining “such major decisions are not made by implication”.
He will continue to lobby for the matter to be aired publicly and said he would pursue it through the relevant official or legal channels if necessary.
He has told Coun Hughes: “I am surprised that you interpret the words of the relevant resolutions as “clearly setting out the council’s intention to implement” service changes.
“The words simply do not say that and no amount of twisting will make them do so.” He also slammed the suggestion that, in approving the bid for funding last year, the council had demonstrated its “full support”.
“It was approved by a majority, and a grudging one at that, following the formulation and submission of an outline bid,”
Mr Pumfrey, who is co-ordinating the roll-out of the new recycling scheme, said the funding and new system would safeguard weekly black bag collections.
“95 per cent of people have told us they highly value that,” he said.
“Not going ahead would have meant a switch to twoweekly black bag collections and we would probably have had to make other service cuts as well.”
WHEELIE BINS FACTFILE
MALVERN Hills District Council this week gave the Gazette more information about its plans to introduce wheelie bins for recycled waste.
What is going to change?
From May, the current system of collecting recycling in plastic sacks weekly will be replaced with fortnightly wheelie bin collections.
Weekly black bag collections for general waste are guaranteed for the next five years as a condition of the government funding.
Will I be getting a wheelie bin then?
Most likely, yes. The vast majority of homes will be receiving either a standard or “compact” sized wheelie bin with a small minority of hard-to-reach properties – estimated at between 17- 22 per cent of homes in the district – continuing with a sack service for recycling.
Do I have a say in the matter?
The council says it has taken great care to ensure wheelie bins will only be provided to properties where they are suitable, with members of its waste collection teams being asked for their first-hand experience of routes when decisions were made. It acknowledges that some properties will have been a “judgement call” and says that, while it cannot sanction a “free for all”, it is happy to have discussions.
When will I know what to expect?
Very soon. The council will be writing to every household next week letting them know the recycling method that has been selected for them. A second letter will be sent at the start of March with details of when bins, if required, will be delivered.
What if I’m not strong enough to be pushing a wheelie bin around?
The council will continue to offer its “assisted collection service”, already used by about 1,000 people. Anyone who has mobility issues and is unable to deal with a wheelie bin should call the Worcestershire Hub on 01684 862151 for assistance.
Anything else I should know?
The council will be introducing a new “customer alert” service alongside the new recycling arrangements. This will allow residents to sign up for alerts and warnings of any service disruptions by text or email.