'Judge us after 90 days': Northampton's new contractors need to be given time to settle in, says environment chief

The council's environment chief Mike Hallam, left, has urged the public to give the new bins contractor, Veolia, time to settle into their new role.
The council's environment chief Mike Hallam, left, has urged the public to give the new bins contractor, Veolia, time to settle into their new role.

The councillor responsible for ensuring Northampton stays tidy said he should be judged after 90 days as to whether a new service provider is proving a success.

Veolia took over the environmental services contract that covers street cleaning, cutting grass, waste collections and recycling, on Monday.

People from around Northampton have been sending the Chron pictures of the poor grass cutting in their area this week.

People from around Northampton have been sending the Chron pictures of the poor grass cutting in their area this week.

Northampton Borough Council’s cabinet member for the environment, Councillor Mike Hallam, told critics that they should wait longer than the first day to criticise both himself and the new contractors.

He said: “It’s day one, and it’s been a really good day one – far better than the first day of the previous contract. Judge it on day 90, not day one, when the town will be in a lot better position.”

The council has accused previous contractors Enterprise of ‘badly letting them down’ – and councillors were quick to highlight the big job Veolia has in improving the state of the town.

Speaking at a full council meeting of Northampton Borough Council last night (Monday, June 4), Liberal Democrat councillors Sally Beardsworth and Dennis Meredith called on the council and the new contractors to make their impact immediately after being contacted by residents.

Councillor Beardsworth said: “The grass verges are so high at some junctions and I just wondered when this will put right because it’s a real problem for people in cars who can’t see traffic coming.”

And Councillor Meredith went further, calling on Councillor Hallam to resign, adding: “The residents of Northampton are appalled and damn well fed up with this town being unkempt and untidy.”

But Councillor Hallam hit back: “The grass cutters have already been out and about on the highways. There’s a robust plan for grass cutting and it will take a few weeks to get up and running.”