Sunday, 22 October 2017

Councillors condemn recycling centre closure plan

COUNCILLORS across South Oxfordshire have condemned plans to close the only household waste and recycling centre in the district.

COUNCILLORS across South Oxfordshire have condemned plans to close the only household waste and recycling centre in the district.

Oxfordshire County Council proposes to close the Oakley Wood centre, between Nettlebed and Benson, and two or three of the other six across the county to save money.

It has launched a public consultation, which closes next month.

Henley Mayor Lorraine Hillier said the town council was ?utterly opposed? to the closure of Oakley Wood.

She told a meeting of the council?s town and community committee: ?Whenever I?ve gone there I?ve had to queue so there?s obviously a need for it.?

Councillor Ian Reissmann said the recycling banks in Henley had been scrapped by South Oxfordshire District Council using the argument that people could take their waste to Oakley Wood but if the centre closed, that argument would be lost.

Councillor David Eggleton, who runs a household removals business, said Oakley Wood could be made financially viable if it accepted and charged for trade waste.

Councillor Will Hamilton said: ?We fully support Oakley Wood. It?s an important site for the people of Henley and it provides a good service. We?re opposed to the closure under any circumstances.?

Benson Parish Council has also objected to the plans. Councillor Rob Jordan said it would be ?crazy? to close Oakley Wood.

?The problem is you?ll get a lot of fly-tipping and you?ll be spending a lot of money clearing it up,? he said.

Ian Hill, chairman of Watlington Parish Council, said: ?There?s a lot of concern about Oakley Wood being closed and it could just generate more fly-tipping.

?I think there would be people willing to pay but it needs to be proportionate.

Personally, I wouldn?t object to having to pay providing it?s a relatively small amount.?

Henley MP John Howell said: ?This proposal is bad news. This is a much-valued facility and to lose it would mean that residents would have to travel long distances to alternative recycling centres.

?A resident of Henley using Oakley Wood currently has a round journey of some 18 miles. In future, that would increase to a round journey of 46 miles to get to Drayton.

?We need to encourage people to recycle and to make it easy for them. The closure of Oakley Wood would have a potentially detrimental effect on people?s willingness to recycle with either an increase in the use of domestic bins or fly-tipping.?

The county council says closing the centres and reducing the opening times of the remaining sites would save £350,000.

Meanwhile, the authority is to ask the Government to consider changing the law so councils can charge people to use household waste recycling centres.

The authority agreed a motion put forward by Goring councillor Kevin Bulmer, who suggested a £1 charge per use.

Cllr Bulmer said: ?People do not like the idea of having to pay for something they have already paid for but if it means saving a centre that might otherwise close, they?ll be in favour of it [charging].?

The consultation will finish on October 5.

To register your views, call 01865 816043, send an email to waste.management@ oxfordshire.gov.uk or visit www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/waste

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