COLCHESTER Conservatives have called for a return to weekly black bag collections.

The move, which is part of the party’s amendments to the ruling coalition’s budget, is set to be debated at a full council meeting tonight.

In June last year, Colchester Council waste bosses scrapped weekly rubbish collections and implemented a fortnightly three-bag limit.

Some households were also given wheelie bins.

Food waste is still collected weekly.


But now opposition councillors say £200,000 could be used to re-introduce weekly black sack collections, with a two-bag limit.

The cash would be raised partly by bringing an end to yearly borough elections.

Darius Laws, group leader who proposed the amendment, said: “These are not figures we have just thrown together, they are the figures officers have told us it will cost to bring this in.

“And we’re going to pay for it by bringing in all-out elections every four years and putting an end to the almost-constant elections in Colchester.”

Mr Laws added: “For whatever reason, there are parts of Colchester the new system is just not working in.

“In New Town, for example, there are a lot of houses in multiple occupancy and it’s not by any means ideal.

“We have done surveys and the overwhelming majority of people who still have black sack collections want that to be weekly.

“It’s winter and our town looks a mess with black bags everywhere.

“Imagine what it could be like in summer with the heat.”

It is the first time in at least four years the Conservative group has proposed changes to the coalition’s budget.

Dominic Graham, Colchester Council’s former waste boss, argued out of the 12 local authorities in Essex, nine have either moved, or plan to move, to fortnightly bin collections.

He added: “It looks as though they are moving away from almost every other local authority in Essex.”

In a list of amendments, the party has also proposed £100,000 for a “deep clean” of Colchester town centre in a bid to “return civic pride”.

Party bosses say it would be funded using the cash saved from “management restructuring”.

Some £92,000 from the authority’s heritage reserve fund would be used to partly pay for the town’s Roman walls and the Jumbo water tower to be lit.

About £200,000 in New Homes Bonus cash would be used to fund the installation of the of the lighting and electrical equipment.

The group also proposes using £250,000 which is moved into the council’s revolving investment fund each year to be used to part-fund regeneration schemes at the proposed St Nicholas Square, off High Street, and the space around Jumbo and the Mercury Theatre, which will undergo an £9 million overhaul.

In a motion which will go before all councillors tonight, it states: “This will enhance and revitalise the historic town centre for residents and visitors, making it a more attractive experience day and night.”