Cllr Alan Dean

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Stansted North on Uttlesford District Council and former Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group Learn more

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by Alan Dean on 10 July, 2023

……………MY BIN was emptied; and I am grateful for the men who came a week ago last Saturday before 8 a.m. to take away my green bin’s dry recycling waste and my brown bin’s compostable food waste.

“So what’s the story”, you may ask? Sadly, the story runs over the past 5 weeks and, as a councillor for Stansted on Uttlesford District Council, I ought to know what’s been going on. BUT I DON’T.

Why don’t I know? Because the senior councillor and cabinet member who is responsible for this key service has repeatedly failed to answer my questions about problems going back over the past five weeks.

Is this Cabinet Member not on top of his job? He told me there was no problem. Now he refuses to reply to my questions? I have been a councillor on Uttlesford District Council for over 36 years and never before in all that time have a been denied a grown up response to such an important enquiry.

Here is the list of council service problems that I have encountered:

  • June 2nd : a bin collection team member suffered an injury near my home and his colleague was left to try without success to complete the day’s round single-handed
  • June 2nd : garden waste was being collected from an area where that is unsafe because it requires bins to be left to block the pavement and impede drivers’ field of vision at the junction with the busy B1383 road
  • June 12th: residents keen on recycling complains that recycling waste and none-recycling waste are being combined in the same collection vehicle; two weeks’ materials being collected on the same day
  • June 14th: appealed to council management team for a response to issues raised to date as not much has been received
  • June 18th: chased for a reply in view of angry resident’s grievance
  • June 18th: written explanation promised in coming days; staff shortages acknowledged
  • June 23rd: no written explanation received; first email sent to responsible Cabinet Member
  • June 23rd: reply from Cabinet Member – “no evidence of what is the issue; all functioning perfectly normally”; but he will speak with senior manager on June 26th
  • June 26th: an anonymous Council source advised serious staff shortages in the relevant street services team; information relayed by me to Cabinet Member
  • June 26th: Cabinet Member asked by me how meeting on this day went
  • June 29th: Sent an email chasing a reply to previous email on June 26th
  • July 2nd: I asked how serious the staff shortages are. I asked why collections on June 30th did not take place until July 1st.
  • July 7th: I send a chaser for a response to my email of July 2nd and reported sharp debris from that day’s collection left on the ground outside my home.

So, after five weeks’ attempts to receive a qualitative and quantitative explanation of current service problems, all I have achieved is moving from a point when the senior responsible councillor for this service told me there were no problems to learning that there are some staff shortages.

I live in hopes that the promise made on June 18th that a fuller explanation (including, I hope, plans for improvements) will be delivered soon.


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