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Barking grandma behind green waste petition has last chance to convince councillors

PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 January 2017

Hilda Gooby (centre) said she was

Hilda Gooby (centre) said she was "very disappointed" after the council decided not to defer a decision on green waste as recommended, but to go ahead and approve the paid-for collection.

Archant

Campaigners fighting to bring back a “vital” service have triggered a meeting to shape its future.

‘I’d rather pay for it than not have it’

Green Fingers founder Peter Railton is keen for the green waste collections to continue in some guise.

“A lot of older people don’t have the means of transport to take the waste themselves,” the 78-year-old said. “I’d prefer for it to be free, but if the worst comes to the worse, I’d rather pay for it than not have it.

“We’ll have to see what comes out of the meeting.”

The keen gardener, of Elms Gardens, Dagenham, is thankful for Hilda Gooby’s efforts.

“She has worked tirelessly to save this vital service,” he said. “If she hadn’t, the issue would have been swept under the carpet.”

A petition by Green Fingers gardening club aiming to resurrect the council’s axed free green garden waste collection service attracted nearly 1,700 signatures after it was brought to an end in September.

Hilda Gooby, who spearheaded the campaign, will try to persuade the living and working select committee to renew the service following an invitation to meet councillors at Barking Town Hall on Tuesday.

She will verbally present the petition and take questions before committee members decide whether to support or reject it.

“Lots of elderly people can’t travel to the tips, but need gardening to maintain their mental health,” Mrs Gooby, of Dereham Road, Barking, explained. “I think taking the service away could make people very depressed and lonely.”

The club started the petition when the future of the £220,000-a-year service was hanging in the balance – before the recent consultation on a paid-for service was announced.

Though the wording is therefore about bringing back the collections and extending them, Mrs Gooby hopes to convince councillors that keeping them free is also necessary.

“I think a lot of people couldn’t afford to pay for it, for some it would be disastrous,” the 73-year-old said. “The council spends money on things like dog DNA and the Queen’s celebrations, I think more priority should be given to the green waste collection.”

Just under half of the 7,690 residents (49.9 per cent) who took part in the consultation said they would be willing to pay £40 a year for a fortnightly service from April to the end of October.

Tuesday’s meeting will offer campaigners their last chance to challenge proposals for a paid for service, before a final decision is made at a cabinet meeting on January 17.


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