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Changes to Wokingham’s Waste Collection: Is that it?

Wokingham Liberal Democrats say the changes to the Waste Collection Service agreed by the Conservatives last night do not go far enough. Residents have consistently called for improvements, but the Conservatives have introduced only minimal changes. The Lib Dems say that many problems with the new service could have been avoided altogether if the Conservatives had been willing to listen at the start.

Councillor Lindsay Ferris said “The new waste scheme was poorly thought-out and badly implemented. The Conservatives are now bringing in stronger, larger blue bags that will fit dustbins, but why did they get it wrong in the first place? A proper blue bag pilot scheme would have shown up the problems. Handing out a few blue bags to Tory councillors was never going to be a sensible way to conduct a trial. ”

Cllr Prue Bray, Lib Dem leader said “The Tories still aren’t listening to what residents want. They have no proposals to widen doorstep recycling and they are not reducing the cost of the garden waste scheme, not even for pensioners and people on low incomes. This is just not good enough.

The Conservatives’ response to any suggestion is always to say that the Council has no money, but Wokingham is spending £54 per property for its waste collection, while Cambridge does theirs for only £37 – why are Wokingham council tax payers not getting a better deal? ”

One decision at the meeting did meet with Lib Dem approval. The Conservatives had intended to pay an extra £30,000 each year for the blue bags simply to cover the cost of Veolia switching suppliers. Thanks to pressure from Lib Dem Councillor Lindsay Ferris, Veolia will now bear this cost. Cllr Ferris said “Why should council tax payers foot the bill for Veolia’s problem with their supplier? This would have cost residents in the region of £200,000 over the remaining 6 years of the contract. I cannot believe the Conservatives showed such commercial incompetence.”

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Wokingham’s Liberal Democrat Councillors were surprised to learn that despite a sudden decision of the Conservative Executive in October, Wokingham Enterprises Ltd (WEL) has not actually been made dormant yet. At the Council Meeting on 22ndNovember the Conservative answer to Cllr Prue Bray’s question – ‘Have you decided when this will actually happen ?’ – was a NO.

Cllr Bray (Winnersh Ward) said “We are very disappointed that such a key decision was taken in a hurry, and the result of this haste appears to be that the Conservatives are now uncertain about when they can actually make this happen. It does raise questions of Conservative competence.”

Woodley Residents’ Fireworks Fears

At last night’s Wokingham Borough Council Meeting, Lib Dem Councillor Lesley Hayward (Bulmershe & Whitegates ward) asked the Council to investigate the rules for sale of display-grade fireworks.

Lesley asked “What are the restrictions on display fireworks? One of my constituents had the glass in their greenhouse blasted out. What legislation is in place, if any, to stop the sale of these powerful pyrotechnics to the general public? They cause damage to cars, propertyand greenhouses. Also the noise that they make is not acceptable compared with domestic fireworks.

In response to Lesley’s question, the Leader of the Council David Lee admitted that he did not know what the restrictions were. Lesley later said “I look forward to getting an answer on this. Once we are clear what the legislation allows the Council to do, I want action taken to enforce the control of sales of these powerful fireworks. If the Council doesn’t act someone may be seriously hurt. “

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Published by Woodley & Whitegates Liberal Democrats, 26 Farriers Close Woodley, Reading RG5 3DD.

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