Complaints about council services spur Labour to call for more grip

The high number of complaints about basic council services has prompted Labour to call for a cross-party working group to be set up to get to grip with the problems.

Councillor Gary Wilkinson


The party said that councillors had received a high volume of complaints over long-running problems with missed rubbish and recycling collections, pavement weeds, potholes, graffiti and litter.

Labour councillor Gary Wilkinson asked Brighton and Hove City Council to adopt a cross-party approach to essential services a year ago.

Councillor Wilkinson plans to try again at a meeting of the full council meeting at Hove Town Hall on Thursday (2 February).

He plans to propose a motion that includes bringing together communities to identify and tackle “grot spots” and problem areas.

Councillor Wilkinson intends to ask the council to consider creating citizen’s assemblies, citywide clean-up events and “meaningful consultation”.

His proposed working group would consist of six councillors – two from each political party – to investigate, review and discuss solutions to problems with essential council services.

The working group would bring its ideas to the council’s Policy and Resources Committee and its Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee.

Councillor Wilkinson said: “There is ongoing public dissatisfaction from residents about basic council services, such as missed refuse and recycling collections, dangerous pavements, potholes, graffiti and fly-tipping.

“(There is) a general feeling from residents that the city looks awful and has been allowed to deteriorate.

“Councillors need to see the developing problems and have the foresight to recognise that you can’t decorate your house until you’ve fixed the leaking roof.

“Our residents rightly expect the council to prioritise the delivery of basic services over vanity projects.

“The benefit of a cross-party approach to talking about systemic problems is that you can look at many issues in one go and gather information from a variety of places.

“There is an emphasis on constructive dialogue that looks at solutions and brings recommendations.

Councillor Bella Sankey

“Some people say member working groups create more work. You tell that to our residents who have seen the same issues for years. Perhaps they will welcome a bit more work.

“This is about doing the right thing. Getting the basics right for the people of Brighton and Hove.”

Labour councillor Bella Sankey, who won the recent Wish ward by-election, is expected to second the motion.

She is concerned about frequently missed bin collections in St Leonard’s Gardens and Erroll Road as well as graffiti and fly-tipping on the Ingram Estate.

The council is due to meet at 4.30pm on Thursday (2 February). The meeting is scheduled to be webcast on the council’s website.

  1. Chris Reply

    The latest excuse for missed rubbish collections on the council website is that:

    “We’re currently experiencing a vehicle shortage due to national delays in MOT testing.”

    Nothing about this shortage in the press. Did someone forget to book the tests?

    • Benjamin Reply

      A shortage of MOT testers could lead to longer waiting times for tests in April, according to the IMI.

      DVSA data, analysed by the IMI, shows that more than 40% the UK’s MOT testers need to complete their annual assessment by March 31, or they will be suspended from testing.

      Just because it wasn’t covered in your news outlet Chris, doesn’t mean it is not happening.

  2. Susie Reply

    Toilet Gr££n is just not organised enough to lead a city like B&H.

  3. Chris Banks Reply

    Live in a small block of flats & we had no recycling collection for over 6 weeks .Complained 3 weeks running & not collected for another 10 days after assurances each time that it would be sorted .The grass outside the block was only cut twice last year with weeds & grass on the pavement side totally ignored . Terrible council !!!

  4. Daniel Harris Reply

    Anything on the homeless prevention officers going back to work with the public face to face? I have heard that the council are employing homeless prevention officers based in London, doing jobs from London, virtually, some don’t even have a mobile. How can this be right? all up for a 4 day working week, but not 5 days working from home. This is not productive and has caused a lot of problems and likely deaths from vulnerable people not being helped.

    • Just me Reply

      Not true.

      As per usual

  5. Nick Reply

    It is good that the official council opposition, Labour, is now starting to raise these issues. They are not new issues – we’ve suffered with poor rubbish collections, pavement weeds and graffiti for years. Now we’ve got closed toilets to add to that list.

    My question is why are Labour acting now? Could it be that we’re just a few months away from local elections? Has Labour cynically sat by, let the greens make a mess of it and then hope to get votes in May? I suspect this is the case – which is an issue as you have to question why people must suffer for years to get to this point. There is a function of an opposition party – both in local and national politics. The opposition has an official role and gets paid more than others. It seems Labour haven’t done this job well over the past few years. They have either been asleep or, more likely, waiting to step in for political advantage as we all suffer. With those mindsets, should Labour gain our vote in May?

    • Benjamin Reply

      To be fair Nick, they’ve been at this issue for months.

  6. Valerie Reply

    Local Action Teans anyone? When first assembled the Clarendon Local Action Team (later renamed Goldsmid) was chaired by Police officer, Sgt Bettiss, minuted. Council officers from refuse/recycling and other deoartments attended the monthly (I think) meetings held in the Valkance Centre – with cllr attendance.

    The police pulled out eventually and cllrs seized the remains which have petered out somewhat. If they become political toys they fail.

  7. Sue. Reply

    This is because of Brexit and not paying key workers enough. Need Labour

  8. Anne Reply

    Yes, The City does look dire. I’m sure if the actual teams had the resources, staffing and equipment, they’d get on and fill those pot holes, other hazards, graffiti etc. There are 3 reported hazards near to where I live, and I imagine the departments would rather see them sorted than have the someone be hurt, or the litigious brigade at work. It’s also a shame the Council don’t look at departments which could generate income, like garden waste. Often Garden Waste Teams are pulled off to help out with shortages on refuse and recycling. Why they don’t maximise that service, re-look at the composting enabling the Council to make a profit, and also compost be accessible to households rather than at the sites, or buying 10 bags at a time or a ton from wherever our garden waste is sent to BCCC (?).

    • Nick Reply

      B&HC gets a £1.5m grant from Government specifically for filling in potholes. So you’d hope that would give them the resources they need to do that at least…..

  9. Benjamin Reply

    VSCE is definitely a good shout in helping to identify issues in an articulate way. I’ve been doing it in my area with good success.

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