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Waste collection issues 'reducing significantly', meeting hears

Issues with waste collections are ‘reducing significantly’, a Maidenhead Town Forum meeting heard this week.

Earlier this year, the borough and its waste contractor Serco faced mounting complaints, with missed bins frequently being reported.

At Tuesday’s Zoom meeting, Naomi Markham, the council’s waste strategy manager, urged residents to continue reporting missed bins either online, or over the phone for people without internet access.

People should ring the council’s customer service centre and select the ‘waste’ option, she said.

“We ask for residents to report a missed bin within two working days of their scheduled collection and we will return within two working days to do that bin,” she said.

If a bin has been rejected or the resident has misunderstood the collection days, they will be notified via email of this, Naomi added.

“Obviously we have had a number of issues; these are now reducing significantly,” she said.

“We have been clearing all bins on the scheduled collection days, we are now scheduled over six days of the week, including some Saturdays, and that has really resolved the issues and collections are going very smoothly.”

Cllr Geoff Hill (TBF, Oldfield) questioned whether the council would be doing anything about rat infestations since the missed bins debacle.

In response, meeting chairman Cllr David Coppinger (Con, Bray) said: “I am very happy to look at it. But in outer parts of Maidenhead, we have a rat problem, I see them every day.”

Cllr Hill then stressed to the chairman that he has seen rats in town centre locations.

Also present at the forum was Steph James, Maidenhead town centre manager, who updated councillors on business and footfall.

“We are in a difficult position again,” she said, adding that non-essential businesses have been ‘amazing in responding to everything that has been thrown at them’.

Ms James confirmed that footfall is down 34 per cent on the previous year, with 38 empty retail units in Maidenhead town centre.

The town has lost four units since December 2019, including Tesco and Monsoon, she added.

Car park usage is down 51.4 per cent in the centre and it is unclear if free parking would be offered for the festive period.

“I am not sure at this point unfortunately,” she said.

Ms James, who also urged people to shop local for their Christmas shopping, added: “We want to make sure Christmas is special in the borough and are working with the Visit Windsor team. We still want people to enjoy our wonderful borough.”

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