A LEADING Worcester councillor claims litter levels are "out of control" in the city, sparking a war of words.
Councillor Marc Bayliss, deputy leader of the opposition Tory group, says rubbish is increasing and grass cutting is "a growing problem" which is not being managed in line with the weather.
His criticism has been rejected by the council's Labour leadership, which maintains Worcester is "a clean city".
In-house data from October to December last year, the last complete quarter of the current financial year, showed a slight downturn in performance levels.
Some 69 per cent of surveyed city streets were deemed at an acceptable level of cleanliness, compared to 75 per cent one year ago.
Cllr Bayliss, speaking during a full council meeting, said some of the findings, known as the detritus survey, concerned him.
A separate poll of city households also showed overall satisfaction with litter has dropped five per cent, to 53 per cent.
He said: "Detritus levels are worse, litter appears to be out of control and grass cutting seems to be a growing problem that is not being managed in line with the weather.
"Is (Cllr Matthew Lamb, the cabinet member responsible for litter) happy to see a former success story crumbling around his ears?"
Cllr Lamb, cabinet member for cleaner and greener, said his rival was "making sweeping generalisations."
"I am afraid I do not accept your statement that litter is out of control, it's an exaggerated claim," he said.
"Worcester is a clean city and that will continue to be the case."
He said not all of the land is within the council's control, meaning the onus is on the actual owners to keep them tidy.
Cllr Bayliss said: "It's not just just me who is saying this, the people of Worcester think it's getting worse."
Cllr Lamb called it "a farcical claim", and insisted litter patrols and street sweeping was working.
"The cleaner and greener department is a priority for this council, which is why we want to keep it a part of this council instead of trying to sell it off."
The Conservatives say Worcester would benefit if at least some functions of cleaner and greener, like bin collections, were handed to an outside provider.