A West Norfolk village recycling centre could close next year if plans published by county council officials today are given the go-ahead.
The proposal to close the site in Docking is part of a series of measures designed to cut around £280,000 from the cost of the county’s recycling centres.
Three other sites, at Heacham, Ashill and Morningthorpe, could also have their operating days reduced from the present seven per week to four under the plans.
And councillors will also be asked to consider proposals to revise or even reduce required standards of road maintenance, including gritting and potentially selling salt to local communities, across the county in order to save almost £1 million.
Officials say that members of the county council’s environment, development and transport (EDT)committee, who will meet in Norwich next Friday, will have to find £8.5 million of savings from services under their consideration next year alone.
As part of their agenda papers, members are also being asked to look at proposals which could see the network reduced to as few as seven “super-sites”, which would offer a wider rainge of recycling facilities.
Officers say the scheme could cost up to £12 million to implement but could save as much as £1.4 million in operating costs.
But community leaders in Docking have already signalled their intention to resist the closure move, which they fear could lead to more cases of fly-tipping in the area.
Parish clerk John Ward said today: “When we got reduced hours last time, our county councillor Michael Chenery took up the case and managed to get a reprieve.”
He also branded plans to reduce operating days at Heacham as “ridiculous”, adding: “You can never get in there anyway.”
But EDT committee chairman Toby Coke said the latest proposals would hit far fewer residents than previous plans and offered new services to small businesses.
He said: “I realise that people who use Docking recycling centre will be disappointed at the proposal to close their site, but it is far and away the smallest and most under-used in the county.
“We simply cannot afford to keep it open, especially when there is good access to the Wells, Heacham and King’s Lynn recycling centres which also cover the Docking area.”
The authority has also insisted that the Docking closure proposal will be the subject of a public consultation.
The proposals also allow for operating hours at all but one of the county’s 20 recycling centres to be cut by an hour per day during the summer and on bank holidays.
The charges for processing tyres would be raised from the current £2.50 per tyre to £4.
Elsewhere,, in a separate report, councillors will be asked to look at whether current standards for work including road gritting, road inspections, grass cutting, repairs and bridge maintenance should be revised or reduced.
Officials say £980,000 could be saved in that area through measures, which could also include giving communities the chance to buy their own salt for gritting purposes.
The committee will also be asked to look at plans to transfer £3 million of road spending to the council’s capital budget from its revenue budget.
Mr Coke said: “The council as a whole is facing very tough choices, and if we are to protect vital services to our most vulnerable residents, we’ve got to find ways of reducing pressure on our day to day spend.
“Keeping our roads maintained to a safe standard is important to everyone, but it may be possible to make significant savings by changing maintenance regimes.
“We can also take £3m out of the revenue budget by funding more road maintenance from our capital pot – which is mostly made up from Government grant.
“This will mean fewer major resurfacing and structural schemes, but for most road users the priority is a reliable response to potholes and other urgent problems, and this will continue.”