Conservatives criticize new environment councilor’s response to missed bins

A Conservative district councilor criticized the new Lib Dem cabinet member for environment after she told him she “should focus on more important things than passing on requests to have bins emptied”.

Cllr Lidia Arciszewska is the new coalition cabinet member responsible for the environment which includes the waste collection service managed by Ubico on behalf of West Oxfordshire District Council.

Cllr Ted Fenton, who represents the Bampton and Clanfield ward, emailed Cllr Arciszewska, after concerns were raised by residents about missed recycling collections in Bampton.

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In the email Cllr Fenton wrote that despite assurances the recycle collection would happen it was sadly still outstanding.

A Conservative colleague said: “In a short reply only minutes after sending the email Cllr Arciszewska responded,“ The only way to reassure you that the bins would be emptied tomorrow would be if I could empty them by myself – which I am not able to do. ”

“Cllr Fenton was surprised to receive such a sharp response from the cabinet member especially given that waste collection is a service managed by her portfolio responsibility in West Oxfordshire.

“In a further email Cllr Arciszewska then replied stating, ‘In my view cabinet members should focus on more important things than passing on requests to have bins emptied.’

Cllr Fenton said he was “astonished” that a cabinet member responsible for waste collection didn’t feel that getting bins emptied was a priority.

He said: “I find it astonishing that a cabinet member, who is paid an extra allowance for doing this role, doesn’t feel that it’s her responsibility to deal with a valid complaint from a resident. A resident who pays their council tax for services such as waste collection.

“In all my years of being a councilor I have never had a response like this from a cabinet member and I really hope that the new administration at WODC doesn’t regard all the things that matter to residents as not being critical enough for them to focus on.

“I think residents expect and deserve better than this.”

Cllr Lidia Arciszewska apologized for the delays in rubbish and recycling collections following the Jubilee Holiday weekend.

She said: “The staff were given two days off, so they could celebrate this very special time with their family and friends, along with everyone else in the country. To catch up the team worked two following Saturdays.

“Festivals, street parties and picnics generated enormous amounts of waste and recycling, which presented a challenge to collection services. Hence the delays. Most residents were quite understanding, but we got some complaints.”

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Regarding the comments made in her email to Cllr Fenton, she said, “I stand by what I said.”

“Seeking a reassurance from me late in the evening that bins would be emptied the following morning was unrealistic – though I apologize if I was sharp in my response. I have obviously passed on his complaint to the officers, who are always doing their best to make sure every complaint is followed upon. ”

She referred residents to the online system for reporting missed collections at https://community.westoxon.gov.uk/s/waste-collection-missed.

Alternatively, residents can call in 01993 861000 as the requests will be captured on the Council’s CRM and sent on to the waste team.

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