THOUSANDS of angry Chester residents have phoned the council after being left baffled by the city’s new waste collection service.
Council chiefs confirmed they have experienced an upsurge in calls made to the Cheshire West and Chester Council’s helpline since the controversial new kerbside sorting system was brought in.
CWaC’s helpdesk staff have seen an increase in the volume of calls from the public over the past fortnight, with many having been left confused by the new collection service which has been brought in just 18 months after the last major change in refuse collection in Chester.
Residents have voiced their anger over the new system, which is being implemented by May Gurney on behalf of CWaC, citing late and missed collections, rubbish left on streets, a confusing kerbside-sorting system and wagons getting stuck.
Calls to CWaC’s general enquiry helpdesk have been averaging nearly 5,000 a week for the past two weeks since the introduction of the Recycle First scheme.
Angry resident Brenda Southward, of Brooke Avenue in Upton Heath, said: “Where do I put today’s recycling? And the next day and the next?
“I do not think this new recycling system is going to work. What a waste of our money.”
Another resident, who asked not to be named, described the new service as “ridiculous”.
They said: “We now have bins everywhere. The only one that is near big enough is the garden one. The rest are just farcical.
“I presume there has been, as usual, an extortionate amount of money spent on research and development for this new system.
“If you want people to change, you have to make it easy for them. This new scheme is possibly the worst idea by the council I have ever seen.”
The Leader understands refuse wagons have been getting into difficulty on the city’s narrow streets, with reports of difficulties on Ermine Road, Hoole, where the driver of the wagon was forced to knock on residents doors and ask them to move their vehicles.
Shirley Wingfield, spokesman for CWaC, which awarded a 14-year contract for the waste collection to May Gurney in April, said: “We have seen an increase in the volume of calls to our call centre over the past fortnight but it isn’t in direct relation to the Recycle First scheme.
“We average between 3,000 and 5,000 calls per week, but over the past two weeks it has been averaging very close to 5,000.
“We have had some technical difficulties with our phone system over the past fortnight and that would explain the increase in calls, as people repeatedly trying to get through would be logged as a call every time they dialled the number.”