Councillors force re-think over £42-a-year garden waste collection charges for Northampton, Daventry and Towcester

Scrutiny Committee to review 'levelling-up' plans approved by West Northamtponshire Cabinet

By Kevin Nicholls
Thursday, 18th November 2021, 2:22 pm

Councillors have forced a re-think over garden waste collection charges in West Northamptonshire.

Last week's Cabinet decision to approve a £42-a-year opt-in subscription service for the whole authority area will now be reviewed by the council's Scrutiny Committee.

Council Tax payers in Northampton and Daventry are already forking out to have their garden waste collected fortnightly.

Plans to charge £42-a-year for emptying brown bins will be looked at by a council committee

The service is still free in Towcester and across the former South Northamptonshire District Council area, which was also absorbed by the new unitary authority earlier this year.

Plans to 'harmonise' the service by making everybody pay the same as the most expensive area were labelled 'profiteering' by some non-Cabinet members.

A council spokesperson confirmed on Thursday (November 18): “Proposals to bring together garden waste collections for West Northamptonshire, which were considered and approved by the Cabinet, have now been ‘called in’ for further review following a request by several councillors for the authority to revisit the decision.

"Under the rules of the council’s constitution, the decision has now been called in for review by the Scrutiny Committee at a future meeting, the details of which are still to be confirmed.

“Once it has considered the call-in and the reasons given, the committee will have options which would involve either referring it back to Cabinet for further consideration or deciding to take no further action — in which case the original Cabinet decision will be effective immediately.”

The next Scrutiny Committee meeting is set for December 14.

West Northamptonshire currently runs three different collection schemes for garden waste, inherited from the old district and borough councils.

Fees for Daventry were 'levelled up' in June to bring them into line with the £42-a-year Northampton residents have paid since the charge was first introduced there in 2020.

Plans to ask South Northamptonshire residents to pay the same from next April were met with criticism.

Former South Northamptonshire Council leader, Ian McCord, last week described it as 'pick-pocketing hard-working council tax payers who have few options.'

Cllr McCord, who now sits as an independent on the new Tory-run council, added: "This is an attempt to mug-residents for £42 a year. It's pure profiteering and this level of charge is not necessary.

"It's just a way of getting an extra £800,000 in revenue from residents with nothing in return.

"Residents of South Northants are paying for and have paid for green waste to be disposed of as part of their council tax.

"This administration needs to stop treating those people as a cash point and start treating them with respect."

Critics of what is dubbed a 'brown bin tax' say it puts people off recycling, although 63 percent of local authorities now charge for garden waste collections.