RUBBISH collections could take “16 times longer” and block Southend’s narrow roads if the council switches to wheelie bins, it has been claimed.

Opposition councillors raised a series of concerns at a meeting over the council’s proposals to move to fortnightly wheelie bin collections as part of a new waste contract beginning next April.

The new scheme would see homes given two wheelie bins - one for recycling and one for waste - but councillors fear it will massively increase collection times and cause traffic jams across the city.

Flats and those with no space for bins will continue to have sacks collected.

Stephen Aylen, non-aligned councillor for Belfairs ward, said the city’s narrow roads could become clogged with traffic jams.

He said: “A dust cart will take 16 times as long to go along as it takes now. We are going to have a mix of wheelie bins and sacks so the trucks have to only have one wheelie bin lifter on the side instead of two like in Rochford.

“Currently sacks are piled up. At the beginning of the trip they come along and the vehicle stops at one point, about every ten houses, but it’s going to have to stop at every single house because someone’s got to collect the wheelie bin and put it back. Then you’ve got to take in the loading.

“You are going to be loading these carts then they’ve got to go off and unload more times than they do at the moment.”

Mr Aylen added: “I don’t believe any risk assessment or time and motion has been done on this. It’s going to cause blockages and hold ups, especially in busy main roads like The Fairway.”

Tony Cox, leader of the council, admitted “it is a fair point” and said the council will go back to bidders to “ask if this has been factored in”.

Clare Mason from the Westborough Community Association, said: “The rubbish that spills from split black bags is very unsightly but I am not sure that there is sufficient space along many homes for wheelie bins.

“Bringing streets to a standstill in an already congested area is not a pleasant thought. This estate is over 100 years old and unfortunately not suited to the amount of traffic on it as it is.”

Kevin Buck said the terms of the new contract had been laid out by the previous administration.

He said: “We have to go with what we’ve got. We have to go with fortnightly collections with wheeled bins or its going to cost several millions more to retain the weekly collections.”