Our Town Hall reporter, KEN LEE, on a council consultation that appears to be an exercise in stating the bleedin’ obvious
The council’s £81,000 per year Tory Mayor wants residents to “shape” its outsourced rubbish services.
Mayor Jason Perry says that cleaner streets are one of his “top priorities”, although there’s been no sign of any improvement in the state of the borough’s streets since he was elected last May, even though Croydon had given rubbish contractors Veolia a £21million “uplift” to their already generous deal in 2021.
A decision has been made by Croydon and the three other councils who comprise the South London Waste Partnership to sack under-performing Veolia – and they have given the contractor almost three years’ notice of the termination.
Veolia has been running Croydon’s bins and street cleaning service since 2003.
They were awarded an eight-year deal across the SLWP boroughs – Croydon and Merton, plus Sutton and Kingston – in 2017. The switch quickly led to complaints over a reduction in standards of service in Merton and Sutton, giving rise to their very own hashtags of #MuckyMerton and #SuttonBinShame, and ultimately to the takeover of many of Croydon’s pavements through #Binmageddon.
When signed, the contract was worth “over £209million”, according to Veolia, and included the possibility of two eight-year extensions. Not that any of those will ever be activated.
Croydon Council last week began a six-week consultation, asking long-suffering residents to “get involved in shaping a new proposal for rubbish, recycling, and street cleansing services ahead of the current contract with Veolia ending in 2025”.
What is required shouldn’t be rocket science… The answers expected ought to be pretty obvious, though neither Tories nor Labour when they’ve been in charge of the Town Hall have ever managed to get a significantly reliable service out of their rubbish contractor. Most residents, and residents’ associations, hold the view that after a decade of Tory austerity policies and cost-cutting, Croydon’s streets are grubbier than ever before.
“The current service includes recycling, general rubbish collection, garden waste, food waste, bulky waste collections, street cleansing and fly-tip removal,” the council says.
What the cash-strapped council won’t say is that, of course, there will not be any additional money available to help deliver the kind of service that a borough the size of Croydon needs, or deserves.
The council wants residents “to give their views on the current service and what Croydon should prioritise in a new contract. This feedback will be used to help design a proposal for what services the council will be looking for from potential bidders”.
The online survey can be accessed via the council website, and printed copies and a large font version are available by request by calling the council at 020 8726 6000, 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday.
The survey is open until February 25.
Read more: Croydon and three other boroughs to bin Veolia rubbish deal
Read more: #Binmageddon: Under-performing Veolia hit with warnings
Read more: #Binmageddon: Council admits Veolia’s failing on the job
Read more: Careful what you wish for as we bin rubbish contractor Veolia
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