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Agenda item

Question Time:

(i)                 To answer questions from members of the public pursuant to Procedure Rule No. 10.


(ii)               To answer questions from members of the Council pursuant to Procedure Rule No. 11





Under Procedure Rule No 11, Councillor Jeremy Oates will ask the Leader of the Council,  Councillor Paul Turner, the following question:-



During 2013-2014 Tamworth was represented by the then Mayor of Tamworth Alderman John Garner. John had a vision to celebrate Tamworth history and heritage as well as provide a focal point and attraction for sign posting and ultimately now a decade later a point to take selfies, This vision was for an sculpture of a saxon warrior and titled The Spirit of Tamworth.

This council made the commitment to support this sculpture and its location at the end of Ladybridge.

I understand that the project has been let down in terms of private sponsorship.

Could the leader detail both renewed support for this project and identify specific funding streams to ensure Alderman Garners vision is delivered and Tamworth’s history is celebrated with a new attraction?


The Leader gave the following answer




Yes, I would be happy to renew support for the Spirit of Tamworth, I agree that this public art would indeed provide Tamworth with a cultural and regenerative opportunity that we should support it.


On the subject of funding I am unable to identify any financial opportunities within the budget, given the many important things that require support across the Borough. That said, the regen team and the castle team are always horizon scanning for possible opportunities to pull in external funding for cultural and town centre activities. I will ask these services to identify possible opportunities that could support this project and provide assistance in preparing bids and application forms if necessary. 





Under Procedure Rule No 11, Councillor Gareth Coates will ask the Portfolio Holder for Entertainment and Leisure, Councillor Andrew Cooper, the following question:-


First to thank the Leader of the council for keeping to his word and on the 14 day a bin was placed on Thackery Drive. Is it possible to either get an addition bin or a bigger bin outside the shops on Lakenheath? There is currently only one bin outside these shops and often 2 or 3 days after it’s emptied it is overflowing, during May half term there was litter all over the place as it’s near a park and I can only imagine over the summer it will get a lot worse. If it’s a bigger big that the council would be looking at putting there, can I suggest the Derby E Double Slimline Bin please, this bin is made by the current bin manufacturer the council use?

As Question 2 & 4 were similar Councillor A Cooper gave the following response to both Questions



There are currently over 800 litter bins in the borough and Tamworth Borough Councils remains committed to its priorities and we are working hard to keep Tamworth clean and tidy.


Instillation of new bins are generally carried out September through to March every year.  This allows us the opportunity to review and establish whether litter bins are in the right spot for meeting the needs of residents and visitors, or if their locations need to be adjusted.


For general information, a standard litter bins cost is £310 each with an additional £100 installation cost, so it is important that we have tested the need by monitoring the demand in each area so that new litter bins are installed in hotspots and those areas where litter accumulates.


This is an on-going process, but we also urge the public to do what’s right and help us keep Tamworth clean and green.  The message is really simple: dispose of waste responsibly using the litter bins provided or take it home. help us by not dropping litter in the first place.  For me bins are always allocated for a case by case basis.  I will instruct officer to look at both of these locations to see if they require larger bins but the emphasis as got to be on the public to dispose of their own litter. 


Councillor Coates asked the following Supplementary Question


I mean if it helps the council I don’t mind paying for the bin myself, if it is a cost issue I have no issue paying for ti to help the area. 


Councillor Cooper gave the following response.


Its not a direct cost issue for that single bin the costs is basically setting an open door policy for having a bin provided everywhere.  If we did have a magic money tree growing outside then we could supply bins to every corner of Tamworth.   I think the emphasis as to be on people doing the right thing with their own litter and taking it home or putting it in the bins provided just being responsible for it.  Thank you for your offer but the cost isn’t the single bin it’s the overall costs.







Under Procedure Rule No 11, Councillor Gareth Coates will ask the Portfolio Holder for Operations and Finance, Councillor Thomas Jay, the following question:-


I get a lot of residents ask why we have to use a blue bag and a blue bin, can the council explain once again why we have both and why we can’t just have the blue bin with mixed recyclable materials like other local councils?


Councillor Jay gave the following response


The single blue bin system is certainly easier for residents.  However there are a number of factors as to why the current system of a bin (for glass, cans and plastic) and a separate bag (for paper and card) was introduced.


The recycling markets have changed dramatically over the last few years.  The material re-processors have raised the bar significantly in terms of what they will and won't accept.  To produce good quality and price effective recycled product the re-processors need good quality product. You will be aware of the many debates we hear around needing to produce high quality recycling material that can be re-used , as well as the expression ‘wish cycling’ where residents are recycling materials which are not able to be processed and are actually contamination of the load.


Unfortunately some residents were not using the blue bin correctly and putting residual waste in the blue bin including nappies, food and animal waste and this resulted in whole lorry loads of recycling being rejected at the re-processing plant.  A small amount of contamination, which could be caused by one resident, would lead to the whole load being rejected and up to 10 tonnes of recyclable material being sent for incineration at a cost of around £3k.  During the final year of the old service rejected loads costed the service and taxpayer over £300k and significant tonnages of quality recyclables materials were lost.  Since the new service was introduced only 1 load has been rejected, and this was not caused by a resident, but due to an operational error by my team.


As well as the lower quality of product we were producing there would have also have been significant cost to our residents to remain with the single bin system.  When we went out to tender for a new disposal contract last year, the gate fee we would have had to pay the re -processors to stay with the current single stream methodology has trebled compared to the existing arrangement. This would have resulted in an additional £1.2 million per annum cost pressure for the Joint Waste Service which is unaffordable.


The reason the gate fees have risen dramatically for single stream materials is because the quality of the material produced is of a lower quality.   


To combat the two issues Lichfield and Tamworth made the decision change to a dual stream collection service.  This followed the lead of other authorities in Staffordshire (Newcastle Under Lyme, East Staffordshire and Stafford at the time) and introduce a dual stream collection service with a bag being provided for paper and card. The feedback from these authorities showed that the move to dual stream collections improved the quality of the materials and as a result the gate fee is a lot lower. It is much harder to hide unwanted materials in a bag and the bins are less full thus making it easier to check them. For your information Cannock and South Staffordshire also made the change to a dual stream system last year for similar reasons to Lichfield and Tamworth.  I’d also add all Shropshire Councils, and other neighbours have the same system.


The new system also increase the capacity the resident has for recycling.  On the old system this was 240ltr bin as standard, it is a 240ltr bin and a 72ltr bag.


During the research and planning stages we made a number of visits to Newcastle and found the service to be working well. The change is quite minimal for residents in that they will need to spend a little bit more time breaking their cardboard down in to smaller pieces so that it will fit into the bag. We will also provide additional bags free of charge if residents need them, and large carboard can be cut down, tied and left at the side of the bin/bag.


The bags do have a Velcro lid to help keep the materials dry and a weighted base to stop them blowing around in the wind after they have been emptied.


Our research also indicated that the bag is not suitable for storing  glass, cans and plastics for a couple of reasons. Firstly glass can easily break which would present a risk to the collection staff. Secondly these containers often contain liquids and the bag is not completely waterproof which would make it difficult for it to be stored indoors. In contrast paper and card is a relatively clean product.


On a personal level I live in Stafford and have a bin and a blue bag myself and it works well.  On a professional level I have also run waste transfer stations, single stream and dual stream operations.  The quality of product from the dual stream is markedly higher.  Although there is some inconvenience to the resident in separating fibre the benefits are a better quality product at a lower cost.


I thank all the residents of Tamworth who have embraced the new system and look forward to working together to increase the recycling rate of quality product across both Tamworth and Lichfield.

I hope that this information is useful and please do not hesitate to contact me again if I can be of further assistance.




How do residents ask for an additional bag


Councillor Jay gave the following response


They can use the numbers on the website of the joint waste service and can do that quite easily. 






Under Procedure Rule No 11, Councillor Craig Adams will ask the Portfolio Holder for Entertainment and Leisure, Councillor Andrew Cooper, the following question:-


To promote litter free residential areas, would the Environmental Health and Community Partnerships portfolio holder look into increasing the number of bins throughout residential areas?


Answer as above on question No.2




If we are relying on people doing the right thing it would make it a lot easier if bins were nearby can we at least have a survey on where the main rubbish are in areas not at bus stops or bus stations but near peoples homes as there seems to be a lot of bis in some areas. 


Councillor Cooper gave the following response.


Yes, of course we are always reviewing our strategy with bins as I said in the response we have over 800 bins in the borough we are not a big Borough with 800 bins with ongoing costs to empty and install those bins and up keep them.  But we always as the response said take a look at our bin strategy and see where and when the right bins need to be in the right place a t the right time.  So absolutely bins are taken on a case by case basis so if there is a certain area you would like a bin then let us know and we can take that judgement on.  And it might mean that we move a bin that’ not being used form somewhere else and we pout it to where it neds to be used.  We will look at tit on a case by case basis. 





Under Procedure Rule No 11, Councillor Rob Pritchard will ask the Portfolio Holder for Entertainment & Leisure, Councillor A Cooper, the following question:-


Decades before our current BMX track was built Tamworth had a long history of producing regional and national BMX Stars.  Since being built in 2010, our current Tamworth BMX track is a facility that has fostered a new generation of BMX riders in Tamworth, as well as bringing many older generations back to the local BMX community. I am proud to have secured funding for our current track and personally consider it my baby, now the baby has reached its teenage years, it is in need of investment. So the track will still be here in another 13 years, will the authority work with Tamworth BMX Club to secure funding to deliver some needed refurbishment to the track.


Councillor Cooper gave the following response


An enquiry regarding the BMX track and some potential need for maintenance was voiced by Councillor Wadrup on 5th June 2023, as a result of which Sports Development sent an email to Councillor Wadrup the same day outlining the historical pot of £10k that was allocated and retained for this purpose. Councillor Wadrup was informed that there is a balance of £2.4k left for maintenance purposes and that officers would need the BMX Club to make contact with Sports Development or Mark Greaves to detail the maintenance work required. Sports Development also highlighted that the pot of money was a one off allocation and once the remainder of the budget has been spent then they will work with the club to try and find externally funded monies for future works, but unfortunately there were no guarantees such funding would be available, in which case it may be that the club has to look at using the yearly membership and sessional subscriptions monies towards this purpose. On the 19th June Sports Development received an email from Tamworth BMX Club requesting a meeting to discuss the maintenance, to which a reply was sent outlining possible suitable dates, unfortunately no response to this email was received.


From both a physical activity and diversionary activity perspective Tamworth BMX Club is a valuable asset to Tamworth, and as with any other sports club or physical activity provider in the Borough, Sports Development will gladly support Tamworth BMX Club to attempt to secure external funding in order to meet the clubs objectives.




Thank you Mr mayor and would thank Cllr Wadrup for taking an interest in this issue.  I put the question in May but this is the first meeting we have had where we can ask questions. I would ask the portfolio holder if he could join me  on record  in thanking the committee members both past and present of this club because they do give up a significant amount of their time to keep this club running and it really as helped thousands of children over the last decade.


Councillor Cooper gave the following response


Thank you I am more than happy to put that on record.  I am often surprised at the many of clubs around Tamworth who do unpublicised work for the Town and its people and absolutely extends to the BMX club in Tamworth and I look forward to Councillors being invited to go down there and try and help them where possible.  




Under Procedure Rule No 11, Councillor R Pritchard will ask the Portfolio Holder for Housing & Planning, Councillor S Smith, the following question:-


Leaseholds in Gillway are still very worried about charges they face for roof repairs and how the authority has communicated with residents over charges. Can the portfolio holder outline what is being done to address residents’ concerns on leaseholder changes and what changes to the process the authority will implement to address leaseholders concerns.

Councillor Smith gave the following response


Councillor S Smith gave the following response


A very good question to an extremely important and pressing issue for Leaseholders.


Currently, I am actively working with officers and members to carefully assess all available information.


My hope is to reach a harmonious resolution on this matter which takes into consideration the concerns of Leaseholders. This can in itself go further to improving the overall communication process.


It is important we have a just and resilient system for supporting Leaseholders, ensuring transparency and fairness for everyone involved.


A full report, including a thorough examination of communications, will be presented during the Extraordinary Council meeting scheduled for 21 August.


There was no supplementary





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