Beccles recycling centre given a reprieve

CAMPAIGNERS spoke of their relief last night as it emerged that the household waste recycling site in Beccles is set to be saved from closure after a temporary bail-out plan was agreed.

Both Beccles and Southwold tips were due to close as part of Suffolk County Council’s cost-cutting measures, which will see seven of its 18 recycling centres shut on May 9.

But Waveney District Council has stepped in and, subject to approval, will provide the county council with �130,000 to keep the two sites open for six months.

Waveney District Council leader Mark Bee said this would buy the sites time, while consideration is given to the long-term viability and the possible establishment of a local consortium to manage them on a longer-term basis.

He said: “It is absolutely clear that our communities have come to depend on the recycling centres and we are determined to take steps which will help them to remain open. In my view, this reprieve buys the sites some time and gives groups or organisations who may be interested in taking them on the opportunity to explore their options.

“Personally, I think it would be fantastic if local consortiums could come together to save the sites – a real Big Society initiative for the benefit of local communities.”

Mr Bee said he believes the authority’s financial outlay would be worthwhile and justifiable as any reprieve for the recycling centres would benefit the council in other ways.

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“The danger with closing these sites is the potential for a considerable increase in fly-tipping and, with it, increased work and costs for Waveney in dealing with this problem,” he said.

“Additionally, we would find people recycling less, which would affect the money we receive in credits for our excellent recycling performance.

“By contributing funds which would be generated from existing savings accrued elsewhere we would actually be preventing potential problems elsewhere.”

The bail-out plan was agreed at a meeting in Beccles on Wednesday at which Mr Bee and Waveney’s director of resources Alan McFarlane met town councillors and Suffolk County Council’s portfolio holder for waste, Lisa Chambers, to discuss the options.

Mrs Chambers said: “We are delighted Waveney District Council has found the funding to keep Beccles and Southwold household waste recycling centres open for another six months.”

But offering a word of caution, she added: “We’ll be working with them to explore a long-term solution, but unless further funding can be found, the sites will still have to close in November 2011.”

Beccles town councillor Jeffrey Harris attended the meeting and said: “It is good news. It is the breathing space we really needed.”

Martin Harvey, manager of Seppings butchers in Blyburgate, Beccles, started a petition following the announcement that the town’s tip would close, which has now been signed by about 1,000 people.

He said: “I think that is fantastic. It is brilliant news.”