COUNCIL chiefs have backed a move which could see free Saturday bulky waste collections return to Worcester’s streets while the authority bids to resolve the ongoing suspension of the current ‘Saturday Skips’ service.
The temporary service was unanimously approved by councillors during a meeting last Tuesday (March 26) and city council officers will now be asked to investigate the possibility of a free, bookable service to serve the whole city at least one a month.
Saturday skips have been temporarily suspended because of concerns about health and safety risks for members of the public and council employees with city residents advised to take their waste to the city’s recycling centre on Bilford Road.
Council leader Coun Marc Bayliss proposed the move and said many areas of the city were missing the the ‘much-loved’ service which was supported by members from across the political divide.
“We do understand this has never been a favourite amongst some officers who have often offered it up as a cost-saving measure,” he said.
While he understood the current reasons for the suspension of the service, which is carried out by council staff voluntarily, Coun Bayliss said some areas of Worcester were now feeling the pinch because of the absence of the collection of bulky waste.
“These include the Gorse Hill ward where we voted some nine months ago to reinstate the service and this has still not happened,” Coun Bayliss said.
“We hope to reintroduce the benefits of the service so all areas of the city can benefit from a free collection at least one a month. We hope this will be a temporary measure which will precipitate the early return of the Saturday skips service.”
His calls were seconded by Labour deputy leader and chair of the council’s Environment Committee, Coun Joy Squires, who praised officers for their efforts in finding a solution to the suspension.
“Whatever we do as a city council we must do safely and legally. This is a way of trying to overcome the situation that some of our communities find themselves in and offers the opportunity to meet the motion which was carried some months ago to have some sort of service in Tolladine,” she said.
Coun Mohammed Altaf backed the calls and said any service would reduce the issue of fly-tipping across the city while Green Party leader Coun Louis Stephen expressed his fear the council was ‘making policy on the hoof’.
In response, Coun Bayliss said: “This is a temporary measure, a workaround to get a service back and running. I’m hoping it will act as further incentive for the return of the full service.”