Veolia, Croydon’s rubbish contractors, are “a failing organisation” who cannot be taken seriously and “can’t even collect the bins in south London”.
That’s according to a former deputy mayor of London and ex-leader of Croydon Council, Valerie Shawcross. Indeed, Shawcross was so animated over the issue that she sent the same tweet to Veolia and related accounts three times last Friday.
The Labour politician and Upper Norwood resident accuses Veolia of having “failed to collect our green waste bin for the fourth consecutive occasion”.
Shawcross added, “Complaints are not responded to.”
Veolia are responsible for refuse bin collections and street cleaning across four boroughs in the South London Waste Partnership, which comprises Sutton, Merton and Kingston as well as Croydon. Following renegotiated and new contracts covering all four boroughs introduced over the last 18 months, public dissatisfaction with the done-on-the-cheap service is widespread, and growing.
Inside Croydon reported last month how Shawcross had made her complaints after her green waste bin – a service for which she pays an extra fee – had gone unemptied for three consecutive collections.
Her reports of the missed collections through Veolia’s and Croydon Council’s automated response systems accused her of being in the wrong, claiming that Shawcross had not “presented” her bin correctly – something which the former London Assembly Member disputes.
In the end, only personal intervention from Croydon councillor Stuart Collins, the Labour council cabinet member for fly tips and dirty streets, saw Shawcross’s bin duly emptied the very next day.
But come last Friday, and the next scheduled green waste collection, and for Veolia, it was a case of “normal service is resumed”.
According to Town Hall sources, Shawcross’s understandable frustration with “failing” Veolia is matched by many of her erstwhile colleagues in the Croydon Labour group at the council.
“Val’s a much-respected figure, who was our council leader before serving for 16 years on the London Assembly, during which time she chaired the fire brigade panel and was Sadiq Khan’s deputy mayor for transport in the capital,” they said.
“It’s fair to say she knows how local government works, and with Veolia, it is not working at all.
“We’re seeing the reports from the other boroughs, and their experiences are matching ours. As councillors, we seem to be spending a lot of our surgery time dealing with complaints about missed bin collections and the state of our streets.
“Stuart [Collins] works very hard, but one councillor can’t keep track of all Veolia’s failings. We know he’s docked their payments for poor service. But now we’re hearing that Veolia are admitting that they cannot deliver the service required, under their recently renegotiated contract, for the money we are paying them, and that they want their payments increased.
“But when are the councils in the South London Waste Partnership going to act in the interests of their residents and businesses, and find a way of delivering a service that is up to the standard we need?”
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