Plan to cut Heacham and Ashill recycling centre opening hours dropped

Latest environment news from the Lynn News, lynnnews.co.uk, @lynnnewscitizen on Twitter
Latest environment news from the Lynn News, lynnnews.co.uk, @lynnnewscitizen on Twitter

Plans to reduce opening times and introduce charges at some West Norfolk recycling centres have been dropped by a county council committee.

The U-turn comes just weeks before proposals to cut opening times at five recycling centres across the county, including the sites at Heacham and Ashill, from seven to four days per week was due to come into force.

A plan to introduce a £2 entry charge at those and other part-time sites, including the ones at Docking and Wells, next year has also been dropped.

And a full review of the recycling services offered by Norfolk County Council has also been ordered.

The moves were made at a meeting of the county council’s environment, development and transport committee last Friday.

Its chairman, Toby Coke, said: “Pressing the pause button on these changes is a good decision.

“It gives us more time to take a fresh look at our current range of services and infrastructure and see whether they really are helping Norfolk’s residents to recycle as much of their waste as possible.”

The committee has asked for the report to be completed by September.

Opening times at the Ashill and Heacham sites had been set to be cut next month.

And Michael Chenery, the divisional councillor for Docking, has welcomed the change of heart.

He said it was a “great relief” that the Docking and Heacham centres would remain open and free for the public to use.

He added: “This is great news for local residents and will reassure the tremendous number of people who have been in touch with me to express their concerns for the sites’ future.”

The closure and charging plans were initially introduced when the council set its budget in February last year.

At the time, the authority claimed they would save up to £450,000 per year.

But the charging plan was dropped after the government indicated it would introduce new rules to prevent local authorities charging residents entry fees to use recycling centres.

However, the council says that does not affect the charges for DIY and construction waste, which are not regarded as household material.