THE INTRODUCTION of the controversial garden waste charge in Stratford will be delayed until next year.
Stratford District Council called an extraordinary meeting this afternoon to make ‘urgent decisions’ in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
This includes a delay to the new annual £40 fee for garden waste collection which was set to take hold in June.
The move had received strong opposition from Liberal Democrats and district residents. Many were concerned it would lead to irresponsible disposal of waste by those who opted out of the fee.
The council argued the move would generate £2.2million a year and was needed to plug government funding gaps.
A consultation over a proposed 20 per cent hike in car parking fees across district council car park will also be postponed until early next year.
Although the consultation had not yet been carried out, the increase was assumed in the council’s recent budget agreement.
Similarly the proposal met criticism from Liberal Democrats who argued the council’s reserves – predicted to remain at more than £9million for the next two years – should not be prioritised over residents’ finances.
A council report read: “It is now considered within the current climate that it would be inappropriate for these planned increases to proceed at this stage. It is therefore proposed that the consultation exercise be postponed and if appropriate to recommence early 2021.”
The council has predicted both delays would result in a loss of £620,000.
It says financial decisions in light of the pandemic’s impact – including grants to support the local economy – would be funded by the council’s reserves.
The report concluded: “The council is in a strong financial position to deal with the immediate issues surrounding this crisis, however, it is accepted that decisions made now will have implications for the longer term within the Medium Term Financial Plan.”