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Fears grow about loss of weekly collections
CONTROVERSIAL proposals for the future of rubbish collection in the Malvern Hills district, which could include sharing services with another council, moved a step closer this week.
But sceptics fear this could mean the loss of the weekly collection of rubbish.
Malvern Hills District Council has to make cuts of up to £1.8 million a year by 2015/16, because of reductions in grants from central government.
And the council has been working for months on a strategic reviews of all its activities to find where savings can be made.
At Tuesday's full council meeting, chief executive Chris Bocock presented his response to the strategic review, which seeks joint provision of rubbish collection and street cleaning with Wychavon and/or other local councils.
It was approved by councillors but with an amendment by Lib Dem leader Councillor Tom Wells to create a cross-party working group of councillors to oversee its implementation.
Coun Anthony Warburton, a long-time critic of the council’s rubbish-collection policies, welcomed the amendment.
He said: “This will enable the elected member to keep a close look at one of the council’s most important functions.
“The officers have talked before about merging our rubbish collection services with another council and we’re seeing that hobby-horse being ridden again.”
He said he feared the joint provision would lead to the council losing the ability to control its own collections.
“I fear, as do other councillors, that merger will mean we’ll lose control of rubbish collection and find ourselves losing our weekly collection,” he said.
“Ours is one of the smallest councils, with a small population scattered over a large area.
“It’s expensive to collect rubbish across such a wide area, and I fear that if we join up with another council, they will call the shots.
“We’ll have got rid of our depot and our lorries, and we won’t be able to do anything.”
Mr Bocock said: “We have to make cuts because of the reduction in support from central government.
Elected members will be involved every step of the way.”
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