Docking recycling centre closure is ‘no way forward’, meeting told

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West Norfolk was “let down” when county councillors voted to close one of its recycling centres, a borough representative has claimed.

Members of the Norfolk County Council environment, development and transport committee approved plans to close the facility in Docking at a meeting earlier this month.

They also backed plans to slash operations at the sites in Heacham and Ashill from the current seven days a week to just four.

And the move was roundly criticised during a meeting of the West Norfolk Council on Thursday evening.

Environment portfolio holder Brian Long vowed to do all he could to save the site when Labour’s Charles Joyce asked for his view of the decision.

He told the meeting: “It’s no way forward and its a loss of service we shouldn’t accept. I’ll be making the strongest representations that it should be saved.”

Although he is also a county councillor, Mr Long is not a member of the EDT committee which passed the closure plan on the casting vote of its chairman, Toby Coke.

Although county officials have insisted there is no evidence the closure, which will be the subject of a public consultation, will lead to an increase in fly-tipping, Mr Long said he was worried that residents would be tempted to give their waste to unlicensed operators, who may then dump it themselves.

There was also criticism of the county council’s ruling alliance, particularly Green Party members, who had voted in favour of the closure plan.

Conservative backbencher Michael Chenery, who represents the Docking division at County Hall, said: “I lobbied all my group before the vote and they all agreed to keep it open and we were let it down.”

He also hit out at independent Richard Bird, who abstained in the crucial vote, and suggested it could cost him his county seat at the next election in 2017.

He said: “Come the election in 18 months’ time, Hunstanton will fall.”