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Council sorry for tough refuse stand
9:40am Friday 30th August 2013 in News
THE council has apologised for sending out aggressive letters to residents living in Old Town during a dispute over refuse collections.
Phillip Thomas, Swindon Council’s head of public protection and Streetsmart, pledged at a public meeting on Wednesday night to write to the majority of people living in North Street, Prospect Hill and Stanley Road apologising for sending a section 46 order.
Two weeks ago residents received a strongly worded letter warning them they could be fined up to £1,000 for incorrectly presenting their rubbish for collection.
It cited examples of refuse being put out too early and black sacks and carrier bags being used instead of the blue bags provided.
Many residents felt the letters was too aggressive and wanted the authority to retract it.
Mr Thomas said at the meeting at the Castle Inn pub that it was a hard balancing act between targeting those responsible for rubbish issues and not alienating others.
“I understand how you must feel when you receive threatening letters saying you are going to be prosecuted,” said Mr Thomas.
He said intelligence had been gathered since the letters were sent out. People identified would not receive an apology but the rest would.
Residents at the meeting also raised the issue of rubbish not being collected on a Friday before a bank holiday, despite many people ringing the council to say their refuse had been missed.
“We are trying to get to the bottom of why it was missed,” said Mr Thomas.
“We are looking at a programme of change around Streetsmart, the way we handle complaints and a way of improving that.”
Tracking devices linking vans to the refuse call centre could be brought in under changes to the Streetsmart programme.
Mr Thomas said Street-smart improvements should be complete by March 31.
Anyone who spots refuse wrongly presented should ring the council on 01793 445500.
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