'Improvements made but more to do': Chron readers judge Veolia after 90 days

Hundreds of you have voted and commented - thank you for getting involved
Hundreds of you have voted and commented - thank you for getting involved

Hundreds of Chronicle and Echo readers have voted to judge the town's new environmental contractor after its first 90 days in charge.

Veolia took over from Enterprise/Amey on June 4 and are tasked with street cleaning, grass cutting, waste collections and recycling.

We asked you to give them a mark out of 10 in three categories; hundreds cast their votes and many of you have sent us your comments via social media.

Of the 1,300 of you who gave your verdict on Veolia's street cleaning, opinion was divided.

A total of 46 per cent gave them a one to four score, 17 per cent voted for five and six out of 10 and 37 per cent gave them a seven to 10 mark.

Much of the blame for Northampton's uncleanliness was placed on people who fly-tipped but generally, people commenting on social media were pleased to have seen an improvement in Veolia's first 90 days.

Jessica Murray commented on Facebook: "Definitely getting better, the street cleaning score shouldn't be so low. They can't help people littering!"

Mantas Sashiokas on Facebook suggested an increase in the number of bins could help tidy the town up.

"More litter bins needed everywhere in Northampton," wrote Mantas.

"They need to install bins everywhere where people walk and on every single bus stop.

"The maximum walking time between bins has to be no more than 10 minutes and in that case even the dirtiest people who won't carry litter and just drop it on the go will have a choice to put it in the bin."

Hayley White, on the other hand, was not impressed with the work carried out in her East Northampton estate.

She said: "I haven’t seen any improvement in Goldings, recycling isn’t collected, trees & bushes haven’t been trimmed, weeds all overgrown, street bins not emptied unless reported."

In the grass cutting category 41 per cent of the 1,200 votes cast were in the one to four scores, 13 per cent gave Veolia an average five or six mark and 46 per cent were happy with the service by voting for seven to 10.

Many commented to say they had seen improvements but, like street cleaning, there was still work left to do.

"For the first time in 11 years we have seen a road sweeper down our cul-de-sac," wrote Sarah Carswell.

"And the guy did a phenomenal job with it too. The grass cutting looks better, still not perfect."

Samantha Martin said: "Some improvements in town but overflowing public bins in Kingsley and hedges overgrown paths. Not bad but could do much better!"

Werner Mittelsdorf, meanwhile, was not that happy, writing: "Not too impressed, overgrown cycle path next to ring road between Tesco south and Rotherthorpe Road."

Overgrown trees are a concern for Tony Church who commented: "Trees need cutting back as many lights and road signs are obscured."

People were most pleased with Veolia in the bin collection category with 61 per cent of the 1,150 who voted giving the contractor a mark between seven and 10, 26 per cent handed them a one to four score and 13 per cent gave them a five or six out of 10.

Although the majority were pleased with their bin collections, several commenters on social media said their rubbish had been missed.

Susan Dimbleby said: "Only managed to empty our recycling twice since they took over. No issues with previous contractors."

Geraldine Davies commented to say she wasn't impressed because "we haven't had recycling collected for three weeks, four if not collected today".

But Rita Caterer was more positive. "We’ve had no problems," she said. "Same as above food bin missed. Contacted online, left bin out and it was collected promptly the next day as promised."

Other readers were keen to offer their solutions to help keep Northampton tidy with higher fines, litter picking groups and recycling bins among the suggestions.

Arthur Newbury, chair of Northampton Federation of Residents Association, said: "I think we have turned the corner to a better place. But people have to take the blame, in as much all they drop and fly-tip.

"Residents are fed up with other people showing no care for others.

"The charge for NBC to pick up should be looked at to help residents do better."

Reader Debbie Arendell-Moore commented on Facebook: In my opinion, NBC needs to back up Veolia's good work with fining offenders and at the very least improving bins at trouble spots - certainly adding can/plastic bottle recycling bins alongside most current bins in town and in parks."

Jill Penny hopes litter picking groups can help the town.

She wrote: "Why not set up groups like the street angels from Abington go around litter picking every morning before they go to work their street look amazing and that’s down to them not the council every little helps."

Sal Nicholson wants to see extra bins near houses.

"Public bins in residential areas need doing," wrote Sal.

"There are a number around Wootton that are full to bursting. There is a dog poo bin at the dead end of New Rd that is so full people are just putting poo bags on the top.

"There's another full bin at the traffic lights on Hermitage Way."

Thank you to everyone who voted and commented.