Group of Stratford district councillors organise rally in effort to overturn new green bin charge

Three Stratford district councillors have organised a 'Say no to the charge for green bin waste' rally.

Members of the district council approved an annual £40 fee for the removal of garden waste through the use of green bins last month.

The new charge for collecting green waste will be introduced in June.

Residents can get a 12.5 per cent or £5 (first year) reduction, but only if the household subscribes before May 1, 2020. A direct debit scheme will not be offered due to the administration costs involved.

Three councillors, Jacqui Harris (Independent Harbury), Tony Bromwich (Independent Southam North) and Andy Crump (Con Southam South), are working together to organise a rally in an effort to have the annual fee decision overturned by the council.

Cllr Harris said: "The rally is a good way for residents to show how concerned they are and to channel their frustrations in a positive peaceful way.

Green bin

Green bin

"We agree with this is a productive way to make the council listen and the community have their concerns heard."

The rally is scheduled to occur before the next Stratford District Council meeting at 1pm on Monday February 24. The rally will take place outside the district council offices at Elizabeth House, Church Street, Stratford.

Cllr Harris said: "This is not about party politics, but the services to the district, including the openness and transparency of Stratford District Council, ensuring it is there to serve and work in partnership as per their constitution.

"Most of all, we as councillors are representing local residents who are clearly unhappy in not only the decision, but like us with the way it was made. By restricting it to a motion in council it meant that it could not be fully debated and explored.

"Residents feel the consultation and community engagement has been poor to say the least.

"They want this to improve with the council, not just around this issue, but going forward, to see a change in how the council manages its communication and engagement.

"We feel that even though the council claim that they have had a response from the community and believe that it is adequate, 2000 is clearly not representative of those who live in the district and of those who responded most objected.

"Most are furious to be asked for their opinion and then to be totally ignored. They are disappointed that no partnership working has been considered, any collaborative, innovative thinking taking place to find a better inclusive solution.

"We believe some may have occurred, but it needs sharing with the public and councillors alike."

The three councillors called the approval of the green bin fee a premature decision.

Cllr Harris added: "Overall we believe if Stratford District Council had properly engaged and worked in partnership with the community and engaged all councillors for such a big impactive decision, keeping us all fully informed, this may well have ended so differently. Even if it was the same outcome, at least all involved would be fully engaged, informed and more accepting of the outcome.

"We believe that this change hits the rural villages hardest, including those in our society who need a helping hand the most.

"Big business, banks and other services have pulled out from the villages, withdrawing into the larger towns reducing services and access. It is hard for parts of these communities, who feel, rightly or not that they are being abandoned.

"This is yet another change leaving many without.

"It does not support the way of village life, the community cohesion and the spirit in which villages interact. This causes some residents to pay for this service twice, which is unfair as parishes will need to increase their precept to pay for more grass cutting, usually done for free by local people."