St Albans Council’s 0845 number costing residents

St Albans City & District Council

St Albans City & District Council - Credit: Archant

REPORTING problems such as fly tipping, graffiti and litter to the district council means local residents have to put their hands in their pockets.

For the council uses an 0845 number to ask people to report such incidents as well as dog fouling, abandoned vehicles and air pollution.

The use of 0845 numbers, which are especially expensive for many mobile phone users, has angered Gordon Chichester-Miles, who lives in Harpenden, and has now written to St Albans council to complain.

He said: “I find this despicable, you are asking us to pay extra for the privilege of reporting problems to you. You want us to help you and then you do this so you can make money out of the telephone call to you.

Mr Chichester-Miles, who is the uncle of the council’s environment portfolio holder, Daniel Chichester-Miles, saw the 0845 number listed in the council’s Community News Leaflet.

He pointed out that St Albans has had an area code of 01727 for many years and suggested that the council continued to use it rather risk losing the good will of local residents.

Richard Shwe, St Albans council’s head of community services, said: “This number has been in place for several years. The original thinking behind the hotline number was to help us keep the district clean and green by allowing people to contact us from anywhere at a local call rate if they spotted a problem.

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“We appreciate that times have now changed and many people use their mobile phones so we will review use of this number.”