The Liberal Democrats and their allies who have governed Elmbridge Council for years were challenged by Conservative councillors over their continued failure to reinstate garden waste collections for thousands of residents.
At Full Council on Wednesday 8th December, Conservative Group Leader, Cllr John Cope, asked the Council Leader Chris Sadler for an update on his efforts to recover the service, which was suspended in September. This comes after Conservatives called for a one off final collection which was thankfully accepted by the Council, given the “emergency stop” had happened when resident’s bins were already full.
Despite councils across the country continuing their waste collection services, Cllr Sadler said he couldn’t even guarantee the service in Elmbridge would be restored within a year.
As well as getting a final collection, Conservative councillors have been working hard to find other solutions to help. Cllr Cope approached the Leader of Runnymede Council to see if they could offer assistance and received the thumbs up. This offer from Runnymede was shared with the Leader of Elmbridge Council as far back as September and raised on several occasions since.
Cllr Cope asked if the offer from Runnymede has been explored, receiving the inexplicable answer that it had not with Cllr Sadler even claiming to still be unaware of it, despite it being raised in public since September. Cllr Cope then held up a note from the Leader of Runnymede Council, saying:
"I have written confirmation here from the leader of Runnymede Council that, not only did he make an offer to the Leader [of Elmbridge Council] directly on multiple occasions, including at the Surrey Leaders Forum, but that offer remains on the table. Runnymede Council would help this council to restore the waste collection. So can Cllr Sadler confirm why he kept his own portfolio holder in the dark and will he finally accept that offer of help?"
A floundering Cllr Sadler couldn’t remember these conversations happening and his Lib Dem Cabinet Member for the Environment admitted he had not spoken directly to the neighbouring council despite the offer being highlighted since September. Resident’s really do expect better than this for the Council Tax they pay.
Conservative Councillor, James Browne, then asked:
"Does the leader now regret not even investigating this offer from Runnymede and will he now take this opportunity to apologise to the brown bin customers of Elmbridge for not doing so and for leaving them so obviously in the lurch given that the offer had come from a neighbouring council? Or is it in fact the case that he is refusing to investigate because that council happens to be run by the Conservative Party?"