Residents across Croydon have been left angry and confused after the first week of the Labour Council’s new bin collections. The changes - designed as a cost savings exercise by Croydon’s ruling Labour party - were announced just 3 months ago. The shambles of the first week suggests this was far too little time for the Council to organise such an extensive change.
Examples of the errors which have occurred include:
New bins being delivered to roads which have been made exempt from the new system, including St Peter’s Road in South Croydon, and not removed
New bins not delivered to countless locations across the borough
Stickers being put on bins in August (before the new system began), telling residents to use those bins for recycling ‘FROM TODAY’, but then not collecting them in the final few collections under the old system
Missed collections in certain roads for weeks at a time
Council promising those that had not received their bins that the, until the end of September, the correct waste would be collected in whatever form it was presented, but then not collecting recycling from somebody who had not received their new bins so presented it using their old boxes
Causing even more anger for residents is being completely unable to get a response when contacting the Council about such issues. Emails to the specially set up email address have received no response, even after several weeks, while residents phoning the helpline have found themselves in a queue of more than 20 people, and having to give up before they could get hold of anyone. It is clear that the Council has been completely overwhelmed by what they have been asked to do in the timeframe they have been given.
The blame for all these operational and communication issues falls squarely on the shoulders of the Labour administration. Neither residents nor backbench Councillors were consulted over the changes, so many roads that were completely unsuitable for the new bins were told that they would need to take them. As a result, Council officers were immediately inundated by requests to review the changes, which reduced their preparedness for the launch of the new service last week.
Conservative Councillors said from the start that the new changes were not properly thought through, that residents should be given an opportunity to comment on the proposals and that there was insufficient time to implement such major changes. The refusal of the Labour Council to listen means that residents have, unnecessarily, been forced to suffer.
One Councillor who’s residents have been particularly badly affected by mistakes is Stuart Millson, Councillor for Selsdon Vale and Forestdale. He says that the chaos of last week was completely predictable:
“The changes that the Council is putting in place are massive, and similar changes have already been seen to cause problems in other boroughs. For the Council to make these changes without consulting residents is arrogance in the extreme, and to try and do so in three months is madness.”
“Everyone is completely supportive of the attempts to save money and increase recycling rates, so there was every opportunity to work with the entire community across a sensible timeframe to get the right outcome for Croydon. Instead, the approach to the new bins has been typical of this Labour Council - a load of rubbish”.
Cllr Vidhi Mohan, Croydon Conservative spokesman for Clean Green Croydon, says: “For the Council to introduce such significant changes without any prior consultation with residents is quite appalling! If they had only met with residents, and done a proper survey to determine the suitability of certain properties to receive such large bins, they would have saved a huge amount of time and resources. The Council’s contractor was supposed to have done such a survey, but obviously did a very poor job, resulting in huge inconvenience and angst to Croydon residents.”
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