Budget plans including £42-a-year garden waste collections still to be voted on but leaflets are already out in south Northamptonshire

Council meeting asked to forgo £3m in revenue to zero charges across West Northamptonshire

By Kevin Nicholls
Wednesday, 23rd February 2022, 3:37 pm
Updated Thursday, 24th February 2022, 7:15 am

Residents are being leafleted urging them to sign up for a £42-a-year garden waste collection service days BEFORE councillors give the charge final approval.

Around £3 million in revenue from expanding existing paid-for schemes in Northampton and Daventry to the former South Northamptonshire District Council area is included in the West Northamptonshire Council budget due to be discussed on Thursday (February 24).

But those who live in south Northamptonshire — who traditionally had the service included in council tax payments — are already seeing leaflets urging them to sign up for the service if they want to continue having garden rubbish collected by the authority from April.

Sign up to our daily Daventry Express Today newsletter

Cllr McCord wants to see garden bin charges scrapped across West Northamptonshire.

Plans were announced last year to match the £42-a-year subscription previously paid in Northampton across the whole of the new unitary authority.

The council's scrutiny committee told the cabinet to have another look at the proposals but a meeting last month decided it could not afford to cut charges after discovering £6 million in 'extra pressures' in its draft budget.

Independent councillor Ian McCord has accused the council of 'double-charging' by not removing the costs from council tax bills in an area which will see the biggest increases.

Cllr McCord said: "There was a public consultation over this which the cabinet chose to ignore and it ignored the scrutiny committee asking it to consider setting a lower charge.

Leaflets encouraging residents to sign up are being circulated in south Northamptonshire.

"Meanwhile, the council plans to bank an extra £4.8 million in government funding along with a contingency it had already planned in the draft budget of £5 million to mitigate all the risks and uncertainties.

"That will be closer to £5 million when additional income from two interest rate rises are taken into account — on top of £34 million it already has in reserves and a minimum of £40 million in general balances."

Cllr McCord plans to propose an amendment at tonight's meeting reducing revenue from the scheme to zero, reducing the contingency to £6.7 million and allowing the council to scrap charges across the whole of West Northamptonshire.

South Northamptonshire residents already face a £52-a-year hike in council tax bills compared to £36 a year for similar properties in Northampton because of a three-year 'harmonisation' plan following last year's local government shake-up.

Those in Daventry, where garden bin subscriptions have risen from £36 a year, will see a £63 increase on their annual council tax for band D homes.

Bills will rise by a further £15 a year to pay for improvements to the county's police and fire services.

Around six in ten authorities nationwide now charge those who want garden waste collected and supporters of the schemes say it is fairer to those who do not have gardens or compost more.

Opponents, however, dubbed the charges a 'brown bin tax' and say it discourages recycling.

Neighbouring North Northamptonshire last week launched a public consultation on the future of its garden waste collections.

Residents in the former East Northamptonshire district currently pay £55 a year if they want garden bins emptied while those in Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough get theirs for 'free'.