PILES of rubbish left outside shops in the centre of Worcester are putting off visitors and damaging the image of the city, the former leader of the city council has said.

Cllr Adrian Gregson contacted your Worcester News to say he was concerned waste and recycling left outside shops and business for collection at the end of their working days – which is often strewn about the streets by gulls and the wind – made the city centre unattractive to both visitors and people living in the area.

Although Worcester City Council provides commercial waste disposal services, many businesses in the city centre instead use private companies, which collect on varying days and at different times, meaning piles of rubbish bags outside shops are a common sight.

Cllr Gregson, who represents Rainbow Hill on the council, said he was concerned the city's image was being damaged.

“We are trying to encourage people to come here, shop here and feel comfortable here,” he said.

“This isn’t helping.”

He said he hoped the council could work with businesses to come up with a mutually beneficial solution.

“There’s got to be a better system,” he said.

“Ideally what would happen is the firms would coordinate when they carry out their collections.

“There is an issue of when shops shut and so on but there’s got to be a better way of arranging it.”

Head of Worcester Business Improvement District (BID) Adrian Field said there are currently eight different private waste collection contractors working with businesses in the city centre.

“The difficulty we’ve got is a business could leave the rubbish out at 5.55pm and then it is not collected until 8.55am the next morning,” he said.

“That is an awfully long time.

“That’s not good aesthetically, it’s not good for tourism and it’s not good for the night time economy.”

Mr Field said the BID was working to come to an agreement with a single private company to collect waste from all shops and businesses in the city centre, inspired by a similar scheme in Bath which has proved a great success.

“Then we would have fewer lorries in the city centre, the business would save money and we’d be in a strong position to say we’ve got to pick it up at 8pm, for example. Also it would hopefully avoid the horrible situation in the Shambles last year.

“Everybody wins really.

“Unfortunately a lot of the businesses are under contract so we can’t do it right way.”

On Monday, September 29 last year 69-year-old Sylvia Russell was killed after she was hit by Smith’s Waste Management truck in the Shambles.

A Worcester City Council spokesman said: “We are in conversation with city centre businesses to try to find ways of reducing the amount of waste bags left outside overnight.

“We will be making contract with commercial waste companies operating in the city.”

Cllr Gregson’s seat is not one of those being contested in next month’s city council elections.