9:00am Friday 18th May 2012
Hills Group has been branded “petty” and “disgraceful” after refusing to give recycling bins to a children’s football tournament in an apparent bid to get revenge on Calne Town Council.
Hills usually gives a number of bins and recycling skips to council-run Bevers-brook Sports Facility, the host of FC Calne’s junior football tournament in July.
But the Gazette and Herald understands the offer was withdrawn this year after the town council refused to back a planning application for a housing development in Sandpit Road.
The proposal, for 150 new homes, was rejected by councillors. Hills has appealed against the decision and is waiting for a hearing date.
The decision by the company to refuse the bins has disgusted councillors, and Beversbrook staff have asked FC Calne to write to Hills to make the request themselves.
Councillor Caroline Ramsey said: “The councillors’ code of conduct governs the way elected members behave and, included in that, is the need to remain impartial and free from accusations about having any kind of interest in things such as planning applications.
“If Hills see their community gestures as a way of securing our support for their activities in Calne then that is backhanded and bullying behaviour.
“This is just so petty. I find the idea of punishing the kids at Beversbrook because of the council’s fair and legal objections to a planning application for a housing estate absolutely disgraceful.
“If buying our support is the only way we will ever get any funding from Hills for Calne then they can keep it.”
Former mayor Glenis Ansell said: “If I thought that Hills were withdrawing their support from the town because of a recent planning decision I would be very disappointed becasue they have been so helpful.”
Mike Webster, group director Hills Waste Solutions, said: “We receive numerous funding requests throughout the year, and they’re all sent to our charity committee for consideration. Unfortunately we’re unable to approve every request we receive, but aim to support as many local communities as possible, and indeed have supported many projects in the Calne area.”
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