Cricklewood gardener slams council's 'ludicrous' waste claims

Lesley Levenson's waste sat uncollected for five months despite paying Barnet Council £70

Lesley Levenson's waste sat uncollected for five months despite paying Barnet Council £70 - Credit: Lesley Levenson

A Cricklewood gardener has been left with a pile of leaves and branches several feet high after Barnet Council failed to send her a green bin sticker for five months.

Lesley Levenson slammed the council’s “ludicrous” claim that her £70 payment for garden waste collections had been cancelled and said her two official complaints had gone unanswered.

It was only after Childs Hill councillor Anne Clarke intervened that Lesley finally received the sticker for her garden waste bin.

“I just don’t know what is going on,” Lesley said. “I have a pile of garden waste sitting in my garden.

"I’m behind with it and don’t know if I’m going to catch up now. They don’t have collections all year – it finishes in late autumn.

The mound of garden waste left on Lesley Levenson's land in Cricklewood

The mound of garden waste left on Lesley Levenson's land in Cricklewood - Credit: Lesley Levenson

“I shouldn’t be lugging waste to the recycling centre when I’ve paid for a service.”

Barnet Council rolled out a £70-a-year charge for garden waste rounds in April last year.

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Lesley said she paid the fee in March this year but, even though the money was taken out of her account, she did not receive a sticker.

She said she reported the problem to the council three times, and each time she was told the sticker would arrive by the end of the week.

“The third time, I was told it would be escalated to the manager,” Lesley said. “But nothing happened, and the sticker still did not arrive.”

Lesley even made two official complaints but heard nothing back from the council.

In response to a question on the complaint form asking what she wanted the council to do, she said she wanted her garden cleared.

Five months later, Lesley received an email saying the original £70 payment had been cancelled. “It’s ludicrous,” Lesley said. “If it had been cancelled, why would I be chasing it?”

After Cllr Clarke took on her case, Lesley received the sticker in August – five months after she applied for it.

But she said the council did not provide an apology or explanation about what had happened. 

A Barnet Council spokesperson said: “We will issue a refund of the equivalent of half the annual charge for this service to the resident.

"We can also offer a one-off additional collection of the resident’s garden waste bin to remove any accumulated garden waste.”