Waste is top of the pile as complaints to Wakefield Council rise

Fly-tipping.
Fly-tipping.

Complaints to Wakefield Council are on the rise - with waste one of the biggest concerns for residents.

There were a total of 1,504 complaints made to Wakefield Council in 2016-17, representing a rise of 14 per cent from the previous year.

Wakefield Council's Les Shaw.

Wakefield Council's Les Shaw.

The figures are from a report put before the council’s cabinet earlier this week.

The council’s complaints process works in three stages.

Most are dealt with at stage one but 154 complaints (10 per cent) progressed to stage two, with just one progressing to stage three.

The most common topic of unhappiness was with regards to waste, with 317 complaints lodged - roughly one fifth of all recorded.

Earlier this year the council announced that it had to find ways of making £14.5m worth of savings.

And as part of the cuts the council announced it was axing a dedicated team which dealt with fly-tipping, while the frequency of street cleaning was also reduced.

The complaints about waste also coincide with the recent closure of a recycling centre on Boundary Lane in Normanton.

Councillor Les Shaw, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Corporate Services, said: “We are now in the seventh consecutive year of government cuts and unfortunately this is now starting to impact on services affecting local residents.

“We have been making every effort to ensure that the impact is kept to a minimum.

“But, due to £144m savings we have had to make since 2011, it has been unavoidable to completely shield the effects from local residents.

“This has inevitably has led to more complaints, particularly in services which have been hit the hardest, such as waste and adult services.

“We remain committed to providing high quality local services with what we have available and are continuing to learn from the customer feedback we have received.”

The ward with the highest number of complaints was Wakefield North, with 103 complaints lodged. In contrast, just 42 complaints were made in the Crofton, Ryhill and Walton ward.