THE controversial decision to introduce wheelie bins into Malvern may have been taken without the proper authority, a councillor has claimed.
Tony Warburton, who represents Alfrick and Leigh on Malvern Hills District Council, believes the council has acted improperly in pushing through the opinion-splitting plastic bins without councillors being asked for approval.
A switch to wheelie bins and fortnightly collections for recycling is set to take place in May after the council received £1.67 million government funding.
Leader David Hughes and head of community services Ivor Pumfrey insist by approving the bid for funding, councillors had explicitly backed the scheme.
Coun Hughes has rejected Coun Warburton’s calls for full council to discuss the matter, saying the council’s intentions were clear and he had checked this understanding with both the monitoring officer and council solicitor.
But Coun Warburton was very unhappy with that response, maintaining “major decisions are not made by implication”.
He will continue to lobby for the matter to be aired publicly and said he would pursue it through the relevant official or legal channels if necessary.
He told Coun Hughes: “I am surprised that you interpret the words of the relevant resolutions as “clearly setting out the council’s intention to implement” service changes. The words do not say that and no twisting will make them do so.”
He also slammed the suggestion that, in approving the bid for funding last year, the council had demonstrated its “full support” for wheelie bins.
“It was approved by a majority, and a grudging one at that, following the formulation and submission of an outline bid that was kept secret from councillors generally,” he said.
Mr Pumfrey, who is co-ordinating the roll-out of the new recycling scheme, said the funding and new system would safeguard weekly black bag collections – which he believes residents value “head and shoulders” above any other element of waste collection.
“Ninety-five per cent of people have told us they highly value that. It is the one thing they really want,” he said. “Not going ahead with this would have meant an inevitable switch to two-weekly black bag collections and we would probably have had to make other cuts.”