Council CEO Elvery tries to gag debate on garden waste cuts

Nathan Elvery, Croydon’s Chief Executive, wanted to shut down all debate at the Town Hall tonight on the axing of the council’s free garden waste collections, despite receiving a petition with the signatures of more than 11,000 residents opposing the latest austerity cut to services.

Interim Croydon CEO Nathan Elvery: busy as a "programme leader" with Athena

Nathan Elvery: 11,000 signatures is just not enough to warrant a debate

Croydon’s Tory group at the Town Hall are opposed to the penny-wise, pound-foolish measure, which the Labour-run council is introducing among a raft of other cuts being implemented as a result of funding reductions from the Conservative Government Chancellor, Gideon Osborne.

Under council meeting rules, it usually requires a petition with 1,000 signatures to force a debate.

Tonight’s full meeting of the council is taking place at the Town Hall from 6.30pm.

Elvery tried to keep the garden waste collections debate off the agenda altogether, claiming that he couldn’t verify all the signatures on the Tories’ petition. “Did Elvery really think that Croydon’s Conservatives could forge 10,000 signatures?” Inside Croydon‘s mole outside the Tories’ Purley offices said. “Not even the master of online sock-puppetry, Peter Morgan, could manage to invent that number of dodgy addresses.

“This is supposed to be the most open and transparent council in Croydon’s history, yet the £200,000 per year chief executive is trying to gag all discussion of an issue which clearly matters to an unprecedented number of local residents. It’s disgraceful.”

After some complaints over the weekend, Elvery backed down this morning, and the petition will now be heard in the council chamber tonight.

Tonight is just the seventh time that the full council has met in 2015, and only the second such meeting since July. Opportunities to debate the latest cuts to residents’ services are, therefore, rare enough as it is without the all-powerful Elvery determining what he will allow the borough’s elected representatives to discuss.

The final free garden waste collection by the council took place at the end of November. The council believes it will save £750,000 by withdrawing the service, as it continues to implement the Tory Government’s austerity measures. The council has asked residents whether they are prepared to pay between £55 and £104 per year for a green waste collection service, which may involve yet another wheelie bin parked outside their homes.

“I don’t know anyone who has signed up for the new service,” one senior figure on Katherine Street told Inside Croydon.

The Tories claim that the garden waste collection cut is another example of Croydon’s Labour leadership being spiteful and petty, trying to impose cuts in services on the mainly Conservative-voting south of the borough. The garden waste cut follows the decision to close the CALAT adult education centre in Coulsdon.

Croydon Tories' leader Tim Pollard: he really ought to do more composting

Croydon Tories’ leader Tim Pollard: he really ought to do more composting in his own garden

But the loss of the garden waste collections could end up damaging the whole of the borough – people in Norbury and Thornton Heath have gardens, and garden waste, too, after all – and costing Council Tax-payers even more money.

“Many people, if they’re sensible, will just do more composting in their gardens,” our council source said.

“But this really is penny-wise and pound-foolish: all the garden waste the council contractors used to collect ought to have been used to form leaf mould for use in the council-run parks, or could even be sold back to residents for their own gardening use, saving the council money or even making a little cash.

“Instead, what will happen now is that people will stick bags of garden waste in their general wheelie bin, and it’ll go off to land-fill and cost us more money. Or there will be more fly tipping of green waste.

“Remember what happened when the council’s bulk waste collection service was withdrawn – the council now still has to pay for the collection of the items; now, it just happens after the sofas and mattresses have been fly tipped on our street corners. Ending the green waste collections will end up costing the borough a fortune.”

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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6 Responses to Council CEO Elvery tries to gag debate on garden waste cuts

  1. I’ve asked the Council whether individuals could add the cost to an individuals Council Tax bill. They’ve responded by saying its a proposed service. Surely you’d work that out in advance so people could make an informed choice as to whether they register an interest or not?

  2. whitgiftavenue says:

    Does this mean no more free bags of ‘Croypost’ when you visit the recycling centres at Factory Lane and Purley Oaks? Cuts to Libraries, the arts, sports centres, adult education and now compost. Is there no end to this Councils assault on civic society?

    • Is it this council’s “assault on civic society”, or is it an assault on our civic structures by a dogmatic Government under the pretence of “austerity”?

      If it is the latter, then should this council administration be doing Gideon’s dirty work for him?

  3. Poor Council, they really are between a rock and a hard place. Not a nice place to be. But succour is at hand.

    As the services they offer diminish and vanish so should the number of senior officers, the ones earning the big bucks. If only three or four of them decide to go the way of our green waste collection the service would be paid for…. and could continue. If the senior officers diminish the chances for Councillors to take charge again will improve and that can only be a good thing.

    It’s a win-win situation.

  4. It all comes down to a simple formula if we are to cope with the austerity imposed by our caring, sharing government.

    We will need fewer but better and more involved councillors, fewer but better and more efficient, less dominant senior council officers, fewer but better services. Voila!

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