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Council told recycling centre cuts are unacceptable

 
Created on 23/11/2016 @ 09:00
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A packed public meeting at Welshpool Town Hall last night told Powys County Council that any reduction in household waste recycling facilities were unacceptable.

Councillor John Powell, Powys County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Environment, Sustainability and Human Resources, Ashley Collins the council’s Waste Services Manager and Nigel Brinn, Head of Highways, Transportation and Recycling faced a hostile audience at a meeting called by Welshpool Town Council.

The county council has launched a consultation period after announcing it needed to cut £700,000 from its recycling budget but there were calls for the portfolio holder’s resignation when it was revealed that cuts were already underway.

Graham Breeze, chairman of the town council’s services committee, called for honesty and transparency and demanded to know the purpose of any consultation when decision to close centres had already been made.

“£700,000 has already been brought forward in budgets to buy a new household waste recycling centre at Newtown and there are plans for a new centre at Abermule to deal with kerbside waste. So why are we not being told the truth,” he asked.

There were calls for the cabinet member’s resignation when Mr Breeze said Mr Powell had failed to mention that he had just released a statement confirming the closure of all cans and plastic banks from community recycling centres from next April.

Councillor Brendon McWhinnie said Mr Powell was not answering the questions and strongly backed calls being made by Montgomeryshire AM Russell George for the Welsh Government to be called in to ensure all residents had access to a household waste recycling centre within a reasonable distance.

He questioned Powys County Council’s ability to administer the recycling service in-house.

Councillor Steve Kaye, Mayor of Welshpool, said Powys County Council should be doing more to fight for their share of funding from the Welsh Government and said Welshpool Town Council would back them in any protest made.

Mr Richard Church said the Liberal Democrats had collected over 2,000 signatures on a petition against closures which would be handed to Powys County Council next Tuesday and Ruth Canning said she was concerned about the effect on local businesses.

County Councillor Phil Pritchard was highly critical of Mr Powell’s role and revealed that Welshpool faced a further blow with the potential closure of the Severn Road council offices. He said he had heard that Powys Council had agreed to the purchase of Ladywell House in Newtown for the potential centralising of its’ offices.

“Why was I not told of this as the town’s representative and why did I have to hear of it in the corridors of Powys County Hall,” he asked.

Many other residents voiced concerns about the potential closure of the Welshpool recycling centre and predicted large levels of fly-tipping.

Mr Powell assured the meeting that the responses to the consultation document would be seriously considered and claimed that no firm decisions had yet been taken. He said £700,000 had to be found and that there were no easy solutions.

He also confirmed that Powys County Council was in negotiations with Welsh Government over the annual settlement. “We have been in a two-year fight over our annual grant and I can confirm that we have secured an additional £1.5million for Powys,” he said.

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