Woman refuses to pay council tax over 16 month bin row

Susan Wood with rubbish, Pannel Lane, Winchelsea. SUS-180409-145041001
Susan Wood with rubbish, Pannel Lane, Winchelsea. SUS-180409-145041001

A Winchelsea resident is refusing to pay her council tax following scores of missed rubbish collections spanning 16 months.

Susan Wood says her rubbish often goes uncollected for three weeks at a time, and despite regular calls to Rother District Council (RDC) the situation has never been resolved.

Now she is withholding her council tax until she gets a regular collection.

Susan bought the derelict 1 Newgate Cottages in Pannel Lane in 2016, renovating the building before moving into the property in May 2017.

She said: “I’m experiencing missing collections every two or three weeks.

“When I cancelled my council tax two months ago, I said I would pay again in December if they reinstated a regular collection.”

To add insult to injury, Susan’s neighbours receive a regular collection - but the collection team have refused to take Susan’s rubbish with them. She said: “I see the truck picking up their wheelie bins and emptying them. “I asked them to take my refuse and they wouldn’t because I’m not on their list.”

Susan said: “I’m supposed to call Rother to remind them and I said ‘this is ridiculous. Why should I call you? Why can’t you sort out your problems with Kier and take my rubbish with our neighbour’s collection?’

“I’m very desperate and distressed.”

She has contacted her councillor, MP and Citizens Advice Bureaux for help.

Now RDC has told Susan her council tax must be paid by the end of the week.

She said: “Part of my council tax is for refuse collection, so I think I should have the service. It’s the only method left to me to protest as I have no avenues left.”

An RDC spokesman said: “We are aware of the missed collections that Ms Wood has experienced over the summer period and we are continuing to work closely with our contractor, Kier, to improve the consistency of the service provided to her.

“We’d like to apologise to Ms Wood for any inconvenience caused by Kier’s failings and would urge her, and anyone else affected by a missed collection to report them without delay via the Rother website online system.

“While we do understand Ms Wood’s frustration, we would remind her that paying council tax is a requirement for any homeowner or tenant and would urge her to keep up with her payments.”