Firms in the bidding for Northampton's bin service whittled down to five - but is Enterprise among them?

Enterprise has come under fire for its environmental maintenance services in Northampton. But has the firm submitted another bid to run them from 2018?
Enterprise has come under fire for its environmental maintenance services in Northampton. But has the firm submitted another bid to run them from 2018?
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Five bidders are in the running to take over the bins contract in Northampton the council has revealed - but it is not known whether the under-fire current providers are among them.

Northampton Borough Council's current environmental services deal with Enterprise is set to come to an end next year and the authority is putting the lucrative contract out to tender.

A policy of not collecting black bin liners was written into the terms of the last contract.

A policy of not collecting black bin liners was written into the terms of the last contract.

This week the leader has revealed it has whittled down a shortlist of possible providers to five, but the council says it cannot reveal who they are for reasons of commercial sensitivity.

Enterprise, owned Amey, has come under fire on numerous occasions for missing bin collections, for leaving grass to grow up to a foot long in the East of Northampton last year and, on one occasion, for interring a body in the wrong plot.

Labour Councillor Enam Haque (Lab, Castle) said the current providers have just not been good enough.

Cllr Anamul Haque, shadow cabinet member for the environment said: "We have always opposed this process and wanted the council to seriously consider bringing environmental services back in-house.

"The last seven years of the present contract has not served our town well in my opinion and many believe it has failed. I just hope the short list doesn't have Enterprise on there but if it does then it shows the borough council has learnt nothing."

More than 9,000 people have now taken part in a public consultation about how the the new environmental services contract should look.

Enterprise has maintained its decision to stop collecting black bin liners in 2015 was written into its previous contract with the borough council.

The council says there has been a strong call for a fortnightly recycling collection, where all materials except food waste are collected together in one bin; a kitchen waste collection service and a free garden waste collection service.

The bidders will be asked to put forward proposals that based on the priorities identified by Northampton folk.

However the council says this level of service is "likely to add more to the cost of the new contract" and says new proposals must be affordable.

Tender documents will go out to the shortlisted bidders soon and will be returned for evaluation during the summer.

Leader of the council, Councillor Jonathan Nunn, (Con, Nene Valley) said: “Nine thousand residents gave their views about this, and the enormous response to our public consultation exercise shows that these very important services really matter to people.

“We want to ensure that the contractor selected through this procurement process can deliver to the high quality that people expect and in a way that we can afford.”

The environmental services contract will be discussed at the cabinet meeting set to take place at the Guildhall at 6pm on Wednesday, April 12.