Call to cut garden waste fees after collections halted

Nusrat Ghani
RUBBISH COLLECTION: Garden waste hasn’t been collected since July

Garden waste collections, which cost subscribers £52 a year, were suspended at the end of July, with both Tunbridge Wells Borough Council [TWBC] and Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council blaming the national HGV shortage for the move.

There has been no announcement on when the service is expected to resume, although subscribers have been told that it will be extended into December, when the service is finally resumed to ensure customers get what they pay for.

Cllr David Hayward of the Alliance said the extension of the service into the winter months had been ‘met with ridicule from residents’ and is calling on the Cabinet to offer a discounted price of £32 next year to prevent subscribers from abandoning the service.

He is attempting to raise a motion at the next Full Council meeting on October 6 to request the fee is reduced, although the Times understands the motion has been blocked by the Mayor.

Cllr Hayward said: “The old banking adage of lending an umbrella in the summer springs to mind.

“The seeking of refunds would involve masses of officer time and hence administrative cost, just when the administration of the waste contract is given as the reason why officers couldn’t spend more time researching alternatives for the Leisure Centre contract.

“To offer a discounted price for next year of £32 for those that don’t seek a refund and hence cancel seems like fair recompense.

“Remember, the ‘Early Bird’ discounted price at the start of the scheme was £42.”

Cllr Matt Bailey, TWBC’s head of Sustainability, said the Council was ‘working closely with the contractor to ensure the service is restarted as soon as possible’.

He added: “In the meantime, we are crediting subscribers for missed collections and adding this to the end of their subscriptions. So our customers will get the collections they’ve paid for.”

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