Plans to force hundreds of residents across Huntingdonshire to sign indemnity forms as part of new arrangements for collecting refuse have been described as “ludicrous”.

Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC) has drawn up a list of homes, including 28 in West Street, St Neots, and 25 in Mill Common, Huntingdon, which are located on roads that are either in a poor state of repair or considered dangerous for refuse lorries to access.

The new policy affects 397 homes, and will ask some people to sign indemnity forms and others must leave gates open or face alternative arrangements in the case of bad weather.

It is not clear, at this stage, whether residents will have to pay for indemnity insurance or even be liable, if they sign forms, should damage occur during the collection.

One resident of West Street told The Hunts Post the road was appalling, but he was angry that people could be made to suffer for some-thing that is not their fault.

"The road is disgraceful and dangerous, but the situation has not been helped by seven-and-a-half tonne refuse lorries using the road and now we are to be punished for that," said Mark Cobourne.

"Someone needs to take responsibility and repair the road."

St Neots deputy mayor, Councillor Barry Chapman, pointed out that deterioration of the road surface in West Street has been rapid over the last decade and described the refuse policy as "ridiculous".

"I suspect the residents of West Street and other areas are not yet aware of this further attack on their quality of life. This policy is absolutely ludicrous. Is the district council really expecting an elderly person to drag their bin 100 yards over a road that they have decided is too dangerous for a refuse lorry to negotiate?"

Councillor Robin Carter, executive councillor for environment, street scene and operations, said: "A review of the council's waste policies was approved by cabinet in March and included the revision of arrangements for properties located on private roads/tracks and unadopted roads. The review looked at the distance travelled for

furthest collection, condition of the road width, turning area and height clearance. A list of future collection arrangements was then compiled."

In a statement about West Street, HDC said: "West Street is unregistered land and in a poor condition. It has a hardcore surface with huge potholes that are getting worse. We have already changed the collections from a standard refuse vehicle to a smaller vehicle, however, due to the nature of the surface of the road there are considerable health and safety concerns, including damage to the council's refuse collection vehicles which are not designed for such roads.

"Residents should continue to place their bins out for collection as normal until we have had the opportunity to discuss the issue with those affected and how best to overcome the difficulties."

HDC was approached to supply more detail about the indemnity forms, but said it was unable to do so at this stage.