A CAMPAIGNING councillor was not only a no show at her own protest against garden waste charge plans but also voted against an option to delay the decision.
Independent councillor Jacqui Harris was among those outspoken about the controversial £40 charge for the formerly-free garden waste disposal service in the district.
Conservative-controlled Stratford District Council argue the charge – being introduced in June – would help plug a government funding gap by some £2.2million a year.
But many remained sceptical over the increase and Coun Harris organised a protest on Tuesday (February 24) shortly before a full council meeting which voted for the charge.
The Harbury ward councillor said she was unable to leave work on time to attend the protest.
Coun Tony Bromwich – also thought to be co-organising – denied his role in the event and also said he was unable to make it on time. Both did however make it to the meeting where Coun Harris voted down a motion – put forward by Liberal Democrats – to defer the decision on the charge for six months.
The Lib Dems believed a deferral would allow the authority time to outline its position more clearly on future funding from central government.
Coun Harris explained her decision was made following discussions with officers on the impact of a delay on the budget.
She told the Observer: “Going forward it would cause many serious issues for the council especially in getting the budget legally signed off. This on its own was of great concern to me and it was not in the council’s or public’s best interests to delay.”
But she remained concerned for those who wanted to recycle but could not afford the new charge.
She added: “Life is difficult for some folk and this is not an affluent district as is claimed by some, we have areas of deprivation. I believe we should do all we can to be inclusive and build community cohesion.
“I am looking to community composting projects to support local people, I support local energy initiatives especially those up and running in Harbury, and climate change action. I will ensure as much as I can all this dovetails in to help everyone – specifically supporting the policies of the council and its vision going forward.”