It became the dirtiest fight in the battle for Merton Council, and within days of snatching a surprise local election victory, Labour has already set the wheels in motion to roll out wheelie bins across the borough.

Every household will soon be given the option of parking one outside their home as part of a scheme that would cost the taxpayer £4m over four years.

The previous Conservative administration was staunchly opposed to the idea, claiming it was unpopular with residents and the cumbersome bins would destroy the street scene.

Yet within seconds of winning the most seats in Merton’s local election, Labour group leader Stephen Alambritis said in his victory speech: “Many of you will know that one of our pledges was to provide an option of wheelie bins for our residents.

“It’s obvious our residents believe the Conservatives were optional as well.”

He subsequently added: “In time this will pay for itself as the streets become cleaner, taking the pressure off our cleaning teams. Black bin liners will no longer be strewn across the borough spreading litter everywhere.

“We’re following the example in Sutton where the scheme is working quite well.”

He said the £4m expenditure would also cover the cost of providing street sweeping twice a week in problem areas.

But residents have already begun contacting this paper, voicing their fierce opposition to the prospect of wheelie bins proliferating in their street.

Cecil Road resident, John Jones, said: “There are hundreds and hundreds of terraced houses in Wimbledon like mine where we have nowhere to put these monstrosities. They will destroy the streetscape of dozens and dozens of streets in Wimbledon. Is that green?

“Collection will be much noisier and slower, and less energy-efficient. Black sacks can be thrown into a truck but every wheelie bin has to be hoisted mechanically to be tipped into the truck.”

Elsewhere in Britain anger over the introduction of wheelie bins saw hundreds take part in a protest march past the town hall in Henley-on-Thames, while a leading national newspaper launched a campaign to purge them from Britain’s streets altogether.