Could Suffolk’s waste sites be saved from closure?

Controversial plans to shut waste sites across Suffolk have been delayed until July.

Suffolk County Council has this afternoon announced that, following feedback from residents, the closure of six of the county's household waste recycling centres will be delayed until July 31.

It is hoped the extra time will allow the authority, which has been heavily criticised for proposing to shut the sites, to 'work with the district and borough councils as its partners, and Suffolk communities to develop long-term solutions to the closures'.

The sites in Beccles and Southwold have already been given a six-month reprieve by Waveney District Council, which has agreed to pay the �140,000 needed to keep them open until November.

However, it is not yet clear how today's decision - particularly Suffolk's decision to use �180,000 from its 'transition fund' to run the sites until July, will affect Waveney's.

Closing the waste and recycling centres in Beccles, Bramford, Brome, Chelmondiston, Ingham, Newmarket and Southwold would save Suffolk �1.4 million.

After announcing plans to shut the seven sites, the council received 8,000 letters. An estimated 2,000 attended public meetings and many held protests against the decision.

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Today county councillor Lisa Chambers, portfolio holder for waste, said: 'We have made this decision in direct response to the views of Suffolk residents.

'People are telling me they are very willing to look at paying for the service rather than lose their site and would like more time to come up with new ways of working. District, parish and town councils have also asked for more time to look at alternative funding opportunities.

'I believe it is important that we listen to feedback from communities and when possible act on that feedback. In this case that is what we have done.'

The �180,000 Suffolk will use to keep the sites open will come from a transition fund, a pot set up to help 'divest' various services.

• The site at Ingham, near Bury St Edmunds, will close as planned on May 9.