Bid to save Beccles waste site

A reprieve might be in sight for Beccles' household waste recycling centre as councillors meet tomorrow to investigate the possibility of keeping it open.

The site is set to close under Suffolk County Council's cost-cutting plans, which will see seven of its 18 recycling centres shut on May 9. The council hopes to save �2.3m from its waste services budget by reducing its recycling service.

The move has proved controversial, with fears that it could lead to an increase in fly-tipping.

Waveney District Council leader Mark Bee yesterday revealed that he is trying to pull together a plan to keep the Beccles recycling centre open.

He has organised a meeting at Beccles Town Hall tomorrow and those set to attend include town councillors, Alan McFarlane, Waveney District Council's director of resources and Lisa Chambers, county council portfolio holder for waste. Mr Bee will also be attending.

Mr Bee said: 'What I am aiming to do is find resources to keep the waste site open for a period of time to be determined at the meeting in order to look at a more long-term local arrangement that can safeguard its future.'

He said the recycling centre was a valued local resource and that he was determined to keep it open if at all possible.

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Mr Bee said he recognised that closing the centre would create problems for people who would have to travel to Lowestoft to dispose of their waste.

He added: 'I am also concerned about an increase in fly-tipping. The main issue is we need more time.

'There is a little bit of hope there – we have got to thrash it out.'

Residents in Beccles have hit back at the decision to close the site and last week Martin Harvey, manager of Seppings butchers in Blyburgate, launched a petition to save the recycling centre.

Beccles Town Council has said it is very concerned and the town's mayor Brian Taylor has written to Suffolk County Council expressing his 'profound disappointment' and to record a strong objection.

Mr Taylor has appealed for the authority to reconsider its decision and to reconsider how the recycling centre could be operated in order to allow it to stay open.

He said: 'This is such an important facility for the town and so many of the surrounding towns and villages, and its closure will inevitably cause an increase in the occurrence of fly-tipping, with law abiding citizens now being forced to travel many miles and at significant cost to themselves, in order to dispose of their waste in a legal and environmentally-friendly manner.'

An online petition to save the Beccles waste site has been set up through the Suffolk County Council website at www.suffolk.gov.uk

emily.dennis@archant.co.uk