Docking recycling centre will shut next week, but Tories vow to re-open it

Docking Recycling Centre
Docking Recycling Centre

Norfolk County Council officials have confirmed a village recycling centre will close for good next week, despite a new pledge to reverse the plan.

Last week, members of the main opposition Conservative group said they would reverse the decision to shut the site in Docking, after taking control of two key committees.

But, less than 24 hours after the area’s councillor revealed the plan, County Hall officials confirmed the site would shut for the last time at 4pm next Monday, December 28.

They say that follows last month’s vote by the authority’s environment, development and transport (EDT) committee to confirm the closure plan.

A spokesman said: “From then on, residents are reminded to use the Heacham, Wells and Hempton sites, which are the next nearest, approximately a 20 minute drive away from Docking.”

The authority has also said that plans to cut operating days at the Heacham and Ashill recycling centres from seven to four will come into effect from January 18.

But the Tories, who now have a majority on both the EDT committee and the policy and resources committee, have insisted they still want to reverse the closure when the council’s budget for the coming financial year is set in February.

Martin Wilby, the group’s environment spokesman, said: “We’ve been consistent in our approach that we support keeping it open.

“We can’t reverse it at this point but, when it comes to the budget, that’s when we can look at re-opening it.”

Divisional councillor Michael Chenery, who revealed the group’s policy at a meeting of Sedgeford parish council last Wednesday night, also claimed the closure had been brought forward from January 18.

But a closure date of January 1 is contained within a report to the November EDT meeting, where the closure was confirmed.

Officials say the closure date has also been advertised at the site since early December.

The current administration, formed from the Labour, Liberal Democrat and UKIP groups, maintains the cuts are necessary to help reduce the authority’s spending by more than £120 million over the next three years.

But critics fear the measures, which also include plans to end bank holiday opening and shorter opening times at all but one of the county’s recycling centres, will lead to increased fly-tipping.