County council axes plan to close four recycling centres
SURREY County Council (SCC) has performed a U-turn on its plans to close down four recycling centres across the county.
The decision comes after almost 14,000 people responded to the consultation, opposing the councils plans to close centres in Dorking , Cranleigh, Bagshot and Warlingham .
In a statement, Councillor Mike Goodman, cabinet member for environment and transport, said: “We’d like to thank residents for their feedback on our proposals.
“We’ve listened and as a result I’ll be recommending to the cabinet that we keep all our community recycling centres (CRC) open.”
Other proposed changes had included ending the free daily allowance of nonhousehold waste, closing CRCs on two weekdays which, according to Cllr Goodman, the council still plans to enact.
He said: “We are finalising the plans at the moment but it is clear that we’ll not now be able to achieve all of the hoped-for £2 million savings.”
SCC needs to make more than £100m of cut-backs this year and closing the recycling centres was one of the ways it had hoped to contribute to its savings.
The initial proposal to close the centres was met by one of largest responses the SCC has received.
The consultation received 13,637 responses, 13,573 of which were from residents and 64 were from organisations and groups (such as other councils).
The consultation included mention of plans to ensure CRCs in Camberley and Farnham are only used by Surrey residents, and restricting users of vans, trailers and pick-ups to larger centres only – neither of which were mentioned by Cllr Goodman.
The most popular proposal among respondents was the plan to ensure that CRCs in Camberley and Farnham were only used by Surrey residents.
Conversely, closing CRCs was ranked as the least preferred change, with more than half of respondents disagreeing or strongly disagreeing with the closure of each suggested site.
Writers of the council’s report noted that “respondents in particular highlighted that any reduction to a CRC service, especially permanently closing CRCs, would increase fly-tipping”.
Liberal Democrat county councillor Stephen Cooksey, said: “I am pleased that so many residents responded in such strong terms to the county council’s consultation, sending them a clear message that the CRCs should be retained and these unpopular proposals dropped.
“This consultation has generated one of the largest responses ever and I am calling for the cabinet to respect the wishes of the residents of Surrey and maintain these vital services”.
The results will be discussed by SCC at a cabinet meeting on September 26.