Cheltenham Borough Council decided to stop bin collections in snow
BINMEN offered to collect rubbish during the heavy snow last month but council bosses refused, it has been revealed.
A report by waste firm Ubico detailing the decisions which led to collections being abandoned for a week during freezing weather in January showed the organisation offered to brave the elements on certain roads in Cheltenham.
The timeline, seen by the Echo, shows the firm contacted the borough council on January 23 – half-way through the period of cancelled collections.
And the firm said it offered to provide a partial service on some main roads in the town. But it is understood a council officer told Ubico that collections should either be fully reinstated or completely abandoned. With the weather forecast showing temperatures at below freezing until the end of that week, the decision was made to suspend all collections.
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A borough council spokeswoman said the authority made the decision to send out a clear public message.
The timeline is part of a report into why rubbish collections were cancelled between January 18 and 25.
It has put the method by which the authority and Ubico informed residents about the service under scrutiny.
Information published to keep people up-to-date on the situation has been described in the report as "confusing".
It also criticised the council's reliance on its website, leaving those without the internet, such as the elderly, in the dark.
The initial report is the work of the council's Ubico scrutiny task group.
Members of the group said they were concerned about the decision to stop collections on January 23 when much of Cheltenham was clear of snow.
Councillor Andrew Chard (C, Leckhampton), who chaired the group, said: "The decision to call a halt to collections until the next week was in our view questionable.
"The reason given for making that decision was that some people would have felt aggrieved that they were not getting their rubbish collected while other people were because their street was open and clear.
"That was why we were not collecting in the town and that is crazy."
The preliminary findings will be presented to the council's overview and scrutiny committee on Monday.