Leader’s update for residents

As usual, there’s a lot going on across the borough this month – but I wanted to specifically update you about improvements we’re making to street-cleaning and bin collection services.

When I became Leader of the council last year, I set out my three key priorities – nurturing civic pride, building a sustainable future, and creating a borough of sport.

It was clear from resident surveys (including one as recently as November last year) and my postbag that many of you just didn’t feel our streets were clean enough. Having pride in our borough starts with it being clean.

So, we’ve taken action to improve things.

From 2025, when our contract with Veolia Ltd runs out, we’ll be bringing all street cleaning services back in-house to be delivered directly by us, your local council.

Waste and recycling collections will continue to be delivered by an external provider, but via a new contract which will give us greater control over the right levels of service for the borough.

Why are we doing this? Well, the biggest requirement from street cleaning is flexibility – being able to decide how often and when we need to undertake deep cleans, high street cleaning and being able to respond quickly to reports of fly-tipping, for example. The best way to have control over the flexibility of the service is to manage it in-house.

While it would also be cost-effective to bring waste collections in-house too, this is a far more complicated service, which relies on specialist, heavy machinery which would have to be purchased, as well as recruiting a highly skilled workforce in-house by 2025. So, for the coming years, these will continue to be delivered by a contractor.

The most important message is that nothing about your collections will change in the short-term, and we aren’t looking at reducing the service in any way over the longer term. The new services will begin from 2025, by which time we will have everything in place to ensure the change to the new services is as seamless for residents as possible.

These changes will help keep our streets cleaner. We’ve listened to your concerns, and we’re acting on them.

Finally, we’re about to set out our annual budget and spending proposals for next year – including council tax levels and how we’ll invest in delivering on our three key priorities.

I’ll be updating you next week about how your council tax will be used to fund the services we deliver and our plans for the new financial year.

To see what else has been going on this month, please do take a look at our online newsroom.