Almost 4,000 people have forced Kingston Council to U-turn on a planned £5 charge to visit the tip.

The decision has been hailed as a “victory for residents” after thousands signed the petition against the plans to charge for non-household waste.

Outrage sparked among the community over the £5 cost per visit to Villiers Road tip – that would have saved the authority £5,000 a year.

In February, the council planned to only allow 20 annual visits to the tip per household – which also faced backlash from residents.

Non-household waste includes rubbish from improvement, repair, or alteration to properties or DIY.

Helen Hinton, group leader of the Kingston Independent Residents Group who created the petition, said told Kingston’s Full Council on July 20 that her petition shows “resident power can make changes”.

But she added: “Unfortunately, Kingston Council has refused to back down on the 20 trips per household per year, which is more prescriptive than any other council.”

Helen claimed Kingston Town Centre is “drowning in filth” due to a possible increase in fly-tipping, adding that “the whole waste management system in The Royal Borough of Kingston is in turmoil”.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Helen said: “We’re going to have to keep fighting this 20 limit.

“Councillor Sweeney was saying he didn’t want fly-tipping discussing, which in the high streets is particularly terrible and a lot of that is due, I’m sure, to people thinking: ‘well I can’t go to the tip so I’ll just dump it here’.”

Cllr John Sweeney said: “When we make a decision we’re always looking to reduce expenditure, and it’s difficult.

“Most of the time we make the right decision but when we get it wrong, we listen to what people tell us, and we will change when we can – that’s a perfect example of what we’re doing.”

Cllr Ian George called this a “victory for residents” but that there should have been a public consultation on the matter.

Leader of Kingston Council, Cllr Caroline Kerr said: “This was considered in the context of a very challenging financial situation.

“What residents perhaps don’t often see is the difficulty of balancing the budget, when you have no revenue support grant across central government.”

The petition can be viewed here: