We’ve collected 98 per cent of bins on time and without problem.
That’s the claim of Eastbourne Borough Council which says that issues with the new waste and recycling service are ‘expected teething problems’ and should be ‘put in to context’.
The new scheme, which involved Eastbourne Borough Council, Wealden District Council and the local authorities for Hastings and Rother, came in to force at the end of July and has been running for three weeks.
It has not been without its hitches as Eastbourne residents have contacted the Herald about missed collection, long hold times on the phonelines and the size of the bins.
This week, the Herald put the concerns of locals to Eastbourne Borough Councillor Gill Mattock, the town’s portfolio holder for finance.
Cllr Mattock said, “There have been some problems but they weren’t unexpected.
“When you change a major contract you expect some problems in the first few weeks.
“There have unfortunately been people who have been missed off the collections and I am not belittling their concerns, because for them it is a big deal and I fully appreciate that.
“The volume of people phoning the call centre has increased in the last few weeks and I know people have had some difficulty getting through but this is getting better.
“The number of calls in week three have almost halved compared with week one.”
Cllr Mattock explained 98 per cent of bins had been collected on time and without problem, but explained issues had arisen where there had been an old arrangement in place at odd properties and narrow streets.
She added, “We meet with the contractor Kier daily and these problems are being sorted out.”
Cllr Mattock explained the problems needed to be ‘put in to context’ and added, “There are 45,000 households in the borough and more than 40,000 of them are receiving a very good service.”
The size of the bins has also been criticised by some.
“Resident have said the brown garden waste wheelie bin, large green recycling wheelie bin, black refuse bin and the recycling box for glass are too big and look cluttered outside homes – especially those who live in flats and terraced properties without side access.
Resident Alan Howlett said, “A high proportion of properties in Eastbourne, and certainly the Old Town area, are small terraced properties with no room for three enormous 240 litre bins, plus a box for glass.
“These properties are often inhabited by couples or single people with only a small amount of weekly waste. How many of them dispose of 740 litres of waste plus glass?”
Cllr Mattock said, “We are aware they are very large bins for some households, especially pensioners, and we are asking them to see how it goes. See if they are too big for their needs and then give us a call.
“We are not saying they must have this big bin forever if they don’t need it.
“However, people may find there is a lot of things they can now put in their green recycling bin. I, myself, am looking at things more carefully to see if they can be recycled.
“It is about education, and people may find they are filling that green bin more than their waste bin.”
Cllr Mattock said recycling had increased ‘significantly’ and explained that while teaming up with the three other authorities was a cost-cutting exercise the end result was a far better service that would run more efficiently.
She said, “Once the teething problems are over it will be an enhanced service.”