This post was first published by Croydon Advertiser on 30/11/2018.
Croydon residents threatened to withhold council tax after new bins not collected for four months
Residents a row of houses in Shirley were so fed up they threatened to withhold their council tax.
New recycling bins belonging to a row of Croydon homes went uncollected for four months, says one angry resident.
Richard Cook, 63, claims at least ten or twelve homes “and possibly more” on Wickham Road in Shirleydid not have their bins collected once between August 21 and Thursday (November 29)..
Despite reporting missed bins to the council every week, writing to councillors, the problem took months to be sorted.
Richard had to take recycling to the tip himself “five or six times” or use the bins of friends nearby and even threatened to withhold his council tax.
Speaking before the problem was resolved, Richard said: “Someone needs to take ownership of the problem but no one seems to, they just pass it from one department to another.
“Once they sent a van round on Saturday but otherwise they never do. It’s ridiculous because we’re paying council tax for them to do the sorting and carting off.
“They say it’s supposed to make for more recycling but the way things are going everything will go in the landfill just to get rid of it.
“We now have most of our bins on the pavement with posters saying “Still Waiting” and “16 weeks since a collection”. I hope we don’t get fined as you are not supposed to leave them there!”
Richard added he “tried everything” and reported the problem “countless times” before, often receiving replies telling him the issue was resolved when the bins were still there.
The Advertiser reached out to Croydon council for comment on November 22 and a week later, Richard said he had been contacted by someone from the council “three times” who assured him “she had escalated the problem and arranged a truck”.
On Thursday (November 29), he said: “Sure enough, they arrived this morning and collected from the green bin.
“The dustman apologised and said our row of houses were now on their tablet and normal collections would resume next week. We live in hope.”
Richard previously suspected his side of the road had been left off new route maps as the new bins were delivered six weeks late and only after he contacted Sarah Jones MP and multiple councillors.
A Croydon Council spokesman said: “New bin collection regimes were introduced in Croydon in September to help boost the recycling rate to 50% over the next two years.
“This was a large change and we’re grateful for residents’ patience during the transition and apologise for any inconveniences caused.
“Missed collections can be reported online through MyAccount and an extra collection will be organised as soon as possible.”
Wickham Road is not the only road in Croydon to have experience teething problems with the new system, which was first announced by Croydon council back in June.
In October, residents of a South Norwood street had their new recycling bins removed just weeks after they were delivered after “a considerable number of properties” were deemed “not suitable for the new bins”.
A letter sent to residents of Sunny Bank from Croydon Council’s Waste Services Team said: “We realise that there will have been many people who were looking forward to the new bins, so want to apologise for the inconvenience.
“However, from an operational perspective, the number of properties that would have required an alternative solution, would have made it extremely difficult to continue to collect bins from the properties [that] were suitable.”
Resident Dan Narayah of Sunny Bank said: “It seems like they’ve put out these new bins, without ever investigating whether they were viable in the first place.
“Obviously we can’t do anything about it because it’s the council’s decision but it was a really big waste of money. If they had done their research better this would not have happened.”
Another resident, Marianne Sears, 48, said she is currently without a place to put her recycling as her old box, which she put out to be taken away as per the instructions in a previous letter from the council, has not been returned.
She said: “Croydon Council have proven they don’t actually plan things, don’t do research and don’t think things through. It’s always going to be the case that some people don’t want change so it seems unfair on the residents that did want the new bins.”
Despite this Cllr Collins, Croydon Council cabinet member for clean, green Croydon, said in September only a “small percentage” of homes have experienced problems.
He said: “Bearing in mind it is probably the largest new bin system in Europe, with 230,000 bins delivered, we’ve only had a small percentage of problems.
“We thank residents for their patience and understanding but we are doing it for the right reasons but there are always going to be technical issues that occur.”