Reporting earlier today (Tuesday 20 December) Lara Keay of the Wanstead & Woodford Guardian writes “Redbridge Council to reconsider plans to charge people £50 a year for garden waste collection after opposition groups slam them”.
Lara goes on to write: “A “WOEFUL” council decision to start charging people for garden waste collection has been sent back to the drawing board.” No it hasn’t. It is going back to the Neighbourhoods Service committee on 4th January where the same people who debated it last time, will do so again with the same result.
The administration councillors on that committee will be sitting there with their hands over their ears chanting the party mantra “la, la, la” to themselves. The drawing board lies with council officers and frankly there isn’t enough council officer time these days to actually do the work of reviewing the decision and coming up with alternatives. That’s what protecting front line services and “reducing bureaucracy” and the “back office” in the face of a severe funding shortfall entails. In fact, there was nobody available to do a consultation with the users of the service to find out what would work best for both the council and us residents in the first place. They’ve all gone. And those who are left are stretched beyond breaking point. You don’t think the Councillors would actually do the work do you? They’re just there to make the decisions, based on the advice of the officers who don’t have the resources or time to investigate or analyse the impact of any decision.
It’s “seat of the pants time” down at the Town Hall, folks. And you know what? It’s not their fault. It’s what we voted for in 2010 and again in 2015. And isn’t it fun to note that it’s the same parties challenging this decision whose colleagues in central government are directly responsible for the situation we now find ourselves in.
Our advice is to start making plans on how you will cope with the new arrangement. Concrete and Astroturf, plus metal flowers like those in South Woodford with a few stuffed birds, a fox and a squirrel might look quite nice …