Residents who pay £65 per year to have their garden waste collected are gradually finding out that the service for which they have paid has been suspended. Croydon Council hasn’t gone out of its way to inform residents that their bins will not be emptied – instead a brief message was put on the Council’s website on 6th January in a place that few would know to look. There is no indication as to whether the service suspension will be measured in weeks or months.
Everyone understands that organisations are experiencing problems with staffing due to sickness and/or the need for some to self-isolate. It is understandable that general waste and food waste would be prioritised ahead of garden waste. However, this does not detract from the point that residents who pay for the garden waste service have entered into a contract with Croydon Council and Veolia to receive '26 fortnightly collections of garden waste over a 12-month period.'
The Council Director responsible for waste management has informed Cllr Helen Redfern that no decisions have been made with regards to refunds. Meanwhile the Council’s customer-facing ‘Contact Croydon’ social media account is telling those who ask about refunds that “the terms and conditions you agreed to when joining the service state we do not offer refunds for the garden waste service” which would normally be correct if it was the resident changing their mind about the service rather than the Council choosing to not provide the 26 fortnightly collections over a 12 month period as contractually agreed. The contract also indicates that notices regarding changes in service should be notified via letter, email or fax with no indication that residents are obliged to search for such information on the Council’s website.
Cllr Helen Redfern says:
“Taking residents’ money for a service that used to be free and then not actually delivering the service is poor form, even for this Labour Council. Attempting to wriggle out of paying refunds threatens the future of the service as residents will no longer trust that the amenity will be provided when they are asked to pay again for the service later in the Spring. Let’s also not forget that this is one of few services within waste management that creates an income for Croydon Council at a time of extreme financial pressure.”
Whilst there is no indication when garden waste services will resume, it is expected that updates will be provided on this Council page.