Station Pub Planning Application
A planning application, Ref. 17/01622/1, which has been submitted to NHDC to re-develop the site of the Station Hotel (aka the Station Pub) to provide nine two bed and five one bed dwellings, in addition to the existing bar area. The ‘Save Our Station Pub’ campaign team is looking at valid planning grounds on which this application might be challenged. Please see the article elsewhere in this edition for more information.
Waste Collection and Street Cleansing Contract
Waste collection and street cleansing are a big part of what NHDC does. More than a third of its overall expenditure goes on this one item. The work is contracted out to Veolia currently, but under current procurement rules the Council must undertake market testing and cannot simply renew the existing contract.
Some while ago it was decided to jointly procure this service with East Herts District Council, in order to realize some economies of scale. With a jointly let contract it will be possible to avoid duplication of contract monitoring and customer support and it should be feasible to introduce much more up to date technology for both these services. It should also be possible to operate a single waste transfer station: the facility at which waste is transferred from District Council collection vehicles to County Council vehicles for disposal/recycling.
One factor that will impact the new contract is the price of material for recycling. This has collapsed as supply of ‘recyclates’ has outpaced the demand for them, and sales of newspapers - an important source of demand for paper - have fallen dramatically in parallel with the rise of the Internet.
For a contract of this size there is an obligation to go out to consultation. By the time you read this you should already have been invited to submit your comments. Watch out on NHDC social media sites for the link to an online survey. The consultation will seek the views of residents on how much they value the non-statutory services, such as collection of textiles, and whether they would value collection of batteries or Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (‘WEEE’). It will seek to obtain a view on whether the current weekly collection from flats is justified, and whether or not a change to the commingling rules are needed (e.g. putting paper waste in the grey bins and getting rid of the blue boxes). There will also be questions on street cleansing.
The survey is due to run from 17th July until the 4th Sept. The evaluation of responses will be done in time for Cabinet to make a decision (jointly with East Herts DC) at its September or October meeting. The new contract will run from 9th May 2018, so the whole timetable is really very tight. It is very important to get this contract right as the scope to vary it once it has been signed will be negligible.