LABOUR controlled Warrington Borough Council looks set to perform a “cheeky” u-turn on a controversial decision to close the Sandy Lane recycling Centre at Stockton Heath.
The council is now proposing to hold off closing down any of the current three recycling centres until a new and affordable borough-wide waste strategy can be developed – despite huge financial pressure brought about by the Coalition Government, slashing the budgets of local councils, especially those in the North West.
As a result the Stockton Heath recycling centre in Sandy Lane will now stay open, despite no commercial bid being received during the tender process back in June.
Delighted Stockton Heath councillor, Laurence Murphy (LAB), said:“I have worked really hard to get the voices of local residents heard and so I am really relieved that the Labour has persuaded Council officers to go back to the drawing board and grant the Sandy Lane Recycling Centre a reprieve. It’s easy to blame the Council Officers, but I point the finger of blame firmly and squarely at the Tory-LibDem government which has unfairly slashed Warrington BC’s budget by over £70million meaning many important local services are now being reduced and cut.”
Cllr David Keane, Executive Board member responsible for Environment at WBC added:”We deliberately delayed awarding the commercial tender to give us chance to consult with local residents. We received almost 1200 responses from right across the town and held numerous talks in order to find an affordable solution that tries to best meet the needs of all the town’s residents.
“I will now be recommending that, in keeping with public opinion, all of our recycling sites remain open albeit on reduced hours to stay within our much reduced budget. Residents told us that despite government cuts they actually agree with us about the need to increase recycling rates and so we now need to quickly develop a new and sustainable waste strategy.”
Commenting on the u-turn Lib Dem spokesman Cllr Bob Barr (pictured right) said: “One must question why the Labour leadership of Warrington Borough Council should have gone against their parliamentary candidate’s and their local councillor’s opposition to the closure of Stockton Heath community Recycling Centre and made a decision at the Executive Board, the result of which was going to be the closure of the Sandy Lane Centre.
“It was only when the Liberal Democrat Group called in that decision for further consideration on the ground that there had been inadequate consultation with the public, and helped organise a public petition against the closure, that the overwhelming public opinion in favour of keeping the centre open was heard and heeded.
“Trying to take credit for a bad decision that had to be reversed due to public pressure is a little bit cheeky, even for the Labour Group!”
Picture shows local councillor Laurence Murphy (left) parish councillor Helen Dutton and Cllr David Keane receiving a petition to keep the Sandy Lane recycling centre open