Wokingham Borough Conservative Councillors have succeeded in stopping the proposed cuts to public litter bins.
At a meeting of the Council’s Executive, it was decided to not proceed with the axing of some litter bins and reduced emptying of others. Instead, a Task and Finish Group will be set up to look again at the litter bin collections and other ways the Council can save money.
However, cuts to grass cutting, weed spraying and street cleaning will still go ahead.
This follows the Leader of Wokingham Borough Conservatives, Cllr Pauline Jorgensen, presenting a motion calling on the Council to listen to 2,000 residents’ who signed a petition to stop the cuts to public litter bins at October’s Council meeting (19.10.23).
In July the Council announced via Twitter and in a press release from the Liberal Democrat Executive member, that it would reduce the number of public litter bins and empty others less frequently along with other cuts to Council services including grass cutting, weed spraying and street sweeping.
As a result of the policy being introduced, some bins were taped over or removed, and others were emptied less causing heaps of dog waste bags and rubbish to build up.
The Liberal Democrat leadership claimed this month that no decision had been taken. However, the press release announcing the new policy included a quote from the Executive Member, Cllr Ian Shenton, demonstrating that the Council’s political leadership was responsible for the cuts that were being made.
Conservative councillors challenged the decision-making process and succeeded in temporarily stopping Wokingham Borough Council’s removal of public bins and criticised the Liberal Democrats’ “policy by Twitter” approach which reduced transparency and stopped debates and votes on Council decisions.
Cllr Pauline Jorgensen, Leader of the Conservative Group, said, “I am delighted that we have forced the Liberal Democrats to finally listen to residents. However, this is not the end of the saga.
“It is important that the Task and Finish Group looks at the Council finances in full, considering where savings can be made without cutting residents’ services. The Group should also look at how the Council could make money through options such as better management of Council assets and resources.
“This whole policy has been mismanaged from the start. Trying to pretend no decision was made when bins were left with rubbish overflowing was clearly farcical. Responsibility for this failure to follow the correct decision-making process and not to consult residents before the policy was first implemented lies with them.
“Lib Dems fail to consult with residents demonstrating a total disregard for the people who voted for them.”