TRADERS have dismissed a call by the Mayor of Henley to come up with a way to solve the problem of commercial waste.
But they have supported his suggestion that they should help keep the streets clean.
Last week, Stefan Gawrysiak claimed the town’s night-time economy was being spoiled by bags of rubbish left on pavements every evening to be collected the following morning.
He said visitors and people on a night out should not have to see the trade waste and called on businesses to find a better solution. He suggested that the rubbish could be picked up the same evening.
But Lorraine Hillier, who runs the Hot Gossip coffee house in Friday Street, said there was no obvious solution.
She said: “It’s very difficult because there are various companies collecting at different times. As a business owner, you can’t get up at 4.30am to put the rubbish out, it has to go the night before.
“If the collection moved to 6.30 in the evening, as the Mayor suggested, can you imagine the impact on the traffic and the gridlock the lorries would cause?
“Grundon used to do a collection later in the evening a few months ago, which I liked, but it wasn’t successful for them. They came round at about 10pm but I think they had trouble getting drivers to work those shifts.” Mrs Hillier, who is also a town councillor, said part of the problem was caused by people who were drunk kicking the bags in the streets.
“That’s when it looks a mess because it’s not always left in an untidy manner by owners,” she said.
“I don’t know an answer to it. It’s part of modern living that if you have businesses you will have rubbish out in the town.”
Nicholas Carlton, manager of Bagatelle Toys in Bell Street, said: “There’s nothing we can do about the collection times. It’s up to the companies to sort it themselves.
“To be honest, we have been having problems with Grundon — sometimes our boxes or bags won’t be picked up at all. They just seem to be very lazy about it and when we phone them to ask why they haven’t collected we are told there are too many boxes. However, very often we have just one or two boxes for them to collect.”
Waste contractors including Biffa and Grundon collect commercial waste between 6am and 8am. Grundon has said its staff working hours are 5.30am to 3pm and it won’t pick up waste in the evening.
A Biffa spokeswoman said: “Retailers tend to shut up shop at 5.30pm and whilst it would be ideal to collect at this time, the impact on local traffic as a collection vehicle passes slowly and safely would be significant.
“Our waste vehicles come through before the morning rush hour to minimise the impact on traffic flow.”