MP: 'Council look like they are already planning recycling climb-down'
South Lakes MP Tim Farron has today said that the Council are already planning a major climb-down on their plans to close six recycling centers.
Cumbria County Council, run by a Conservative-Labour alliance, launched a consultation to close six household waste recycling centres across the county, including those at Millom, Ambleside, Kirkby Stephen and Grange-over-Sands at the start of the year. The plans have been faced by a barrage of criticism from local residents, who believe that it will lead to an increase in fly tipping.
The consultation is planned to finish on the 19th February. But even before the consultation has closed, the Leader of Council is signalling a major u-turn.
Writing on his official blog Eddie Martin, Leader of Cumbria County Council said: "Some parish councils have expressed a wish to run their own libraries. Others are looking at whether they could run a recycling centre. I am anxious to get local, neighbourhood care schemes up and running."
This is something that Tim and Lib Dem councillors like Peter Thornton in Kirkby Stephen and Heidi Halliday in Ambleside and Grasmerehave been calling for, ever since the plans were published. Tim and the local Liberal Democrats want to make sure that communities which take on these services, get the support they need to run them.
Councillor Martin signalled another major concession to the recycling centre campaigners, suggesting that Cumbria County Council will offer financial support to Parish councils. "Communities will need support, they might need some modest financial incentives."
Commenting, Tim said: "With 17 days left of the 'consultation', the reality seems to have dawned on the County Council that these services are well used by the community. The Council has set off down this path to close them without working with communities, parish councils and businesses to see if they could be saved. The public opposition to these plans has been massive and I want to thank everyone who has supported the campaign and made sure the Council have to think again. I will not stop pushing until the Council finally agrees that the recycling centres in Grange, Ambleside and Kirkby Stephen are safe.
"I also want to thank councillors like Heidi Halliday, David Earnshaw, Vivienne Rees and Peter Thornton for their support and campaigning zeal. They are true community champions."
Ambleside and Grasmere councillor Heidi Halliday commented: "Cumbria County Council say that the sites it wants to shut down are supposedly the least used and the most costly to operate, yet Eddie Martin is now suggesting that these 'at-risk sites' should be taken on by Parishes and Communities. I would be interested to know what he considers to be 'modest incentives' and how far exactly this would go towards covering both the setting up and running costs that would ultimately be incurred."