WARRINGTON Borough Council’s decision to complete a u-turn on the decision to close the Sandy Lane Recycling Centre at Stockton Heath has been welcomed by opposition councillors who have accused the controlling Labour group of not being “open and transparent”.
Cllr Bob Barr, deputy leader of the Lib Dems said: “The Liberal Democrat Group can only welcome the “u-turn” and believe that the Council should heed the feeling of people in South Warrington that this administration is not working on their behalf.”
“The bottom line is that the decision to close Stockton Heath Recycling Centre was wrongly made, was not open or transparent and was not based on an appropriate public consultation.”
The decision, which has now been rubber stamped by the council’s executive Board and reported earlier this week on warrington-worldwide, follows a four week public consultation about the council’s waste and recycling services and means that the opening hours for the three Community Recycling Centres (CRC) are:
•Gatewarth will be 8am to 6pm all week
•Woolston will be 10am to 4pm weekdays with weekend openings of 8am to 6pm.
•Stockton Heath will be 10am to 4pm weekdays with weekend openings of 8am to 6pm during the summer and 10am to 4pm weekdays with weekend openings of 8am to 4pm during the winter.
This is part of an overall decision to award a new contract for the management of the town’s three CRCs which can now be put in place from late autumn.
This follows a tender exercise to reduce expenditure and provide efficiencies within the waste service for 2014/15.
Cllr David Keane, (pictured right) executive board member for environment and public protection, said: “I want to thank everyone who took the time to take part in the waste and recycling consultation and we have taken on board all the comments and feedback.
“We have listened to what people have said and have addressed specific concerns raised about the future of the Stockton Heath CRC. This decision to keep the site open also means that we can maintain current services while we progress with a new waste strategy.
“Our aim is still to continue with our excellent recycling rates and support residents and the consultation has been a very fruitful exercise in terms of helping us to do this. For example it is clear from the results that residents would like to see the development and expansion of kerbside recycling services to help boost recycling levels.
“The council will look into ways of expanding the current services as part of the development of the new waste strategy during the next 12 months, including improving localised recycling facilities and also progress the proposal of a single CRC site for the town.”
Cllr Barr (pictured left) added: “One can’t help but sympathise with Cllr David Keane on the twists and turns he is having to make to justify the “u-turn” on recycling centres forced on him by the public, assisted by the Liberal Democrat Group on the Council.
“First a decision, apparently against Cllr Keane’s wishes and the advice of the one Labour Councillor representing Warrington south of the Ship Canal and their Warrington South PPC, was forced through by the Leaders of the Council.
“Then he had to argue, at the call-in meeting, that the Liberal Democrats had not queried the agenda item at the Executive Board which purported to be about the award of a new recycling contract but actually turned out to be about the closure of recycling centres. And then, in desperation, he argued that it was always the intention to consult about recycling centres after the closure decision had been made.