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York bins row latest
THE public were not consulted on the removal of hundreds of litter bins around York because they would have inevitably debated the decisions, the council has said.
City of York Council last month removed 349 litter bins from around the city, more than one in three, to save £40,000 a year on collection rounds.
However, there have been complaints about the decision and the lack of discussion.
At the most recent council meeting, Green councillor Andy D’Agorne and Liberal Democrat Keith Orrell both questioned Coun Sandy Fraser, who at the time was cabinet member for environmental services, about the consultation.
Coun Fraser told them both: “To enable the targeted in-year savings to be achieved, it was important that this process was carried out as quickly as possible.”
He said council staff were told to identify bins that could be removed due to misuse, underuse or the presence of others nearby.
He said: “To have consulted with others at this point would have severely delayed the process due to the inevitable, probably lengthy debate on each bin.”
He said council officers were working with councillors and residents to resolve outstanding issues where practicable.
Coun Orrell said: “Lack of consultation goes against all the procedures the Lib Dems set up when we were in power. We think it is very important to consult people about issues, particularly issues that affect them locally.”
Meanwhile, accounts published on its website show the council spent £50,169 last month replacing damaged bins.
Russell Stone, the council’s head of neighbourhood pride, said it was part of a £75,000 capital programme to replace damaged city centre bins with 13, solar-powered compactor ones that have eight times more capacity, “meaning a smarter city centre with less street furniture as planned for by the Reinvigorate York initiative.”
Coun Fraser stressed the distinction between capital and revenue funding, saying the one-off cost of the new bins would be offset by sustained savings on the collection rounds.
Coun Fraser was replaced on the cabinet yesterday by Coun David Levene, after stepping down due to time commitments.