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U-turn on council plans to close Cumbria's household rubbish tips

A U-turn on plans to close six household rubbish tips is being prepared by Cumbria County Council.

But keeping them open is to cut back operations at those not earmarked for closure – including Carlisle.

Sites at Wigton, Brampton, Kirkby Stephen, Millom, Ambleside and Grange-over-Sands are under threat as the authority aims to save £2.025m a year.

But its cabinet, which meets in Carlisle on Thursday, is expected to drop the proposed closures and reduce opening hours instead.

Most of the larger sites open between 8am and 6pm daily. Under the new plan, those at Carlisle, Flusco (Penrith), Barrow and Kendal would close on Thursdays and Fridays, as would Workington and Frizington – soon to be replaced by a new site at Lillyhall.

Maryport and Ulverston would open four days a week, including Saturdays and Sundays. Smaller sites such as Wigton and Brampton would open only on two days, one at the weekend.

All would shut at 4pm in winter when they are less busy.

Senior councillors have been taken aback by the strength of opposition to outright closures.

A consultation which ended last month brought 2,600 responses.

A report from corporate resources director Diane Wood says there was “near universal opposition” to closures with strength of feeling strongest in Wigton, Brampton and Kirkby Stephen.

But she warns that the alternative solution of reducing hours will achieve savings of only £1.5m a year by 2013-14.

That means further savings of £525,000 will have to be found elsewhere.

A scrutiny task and finish group of councillors was set up in January to look at the way rubbish tips – officially called household waste recycling centres – operate.

They are recommending that none of the sites closes.

Their report says: “The task group felt very strongly that, by retaining all the current sites, a flexibility exists with a possibility of adjusting the balance of opening hours in the future to respond to emerging need.

“This would not be possible if sites were permanently closed.”

Five petitions, with a total of almost 6,000 signatures, are due to be presented at the cabinet meeting opposing closure of the sites at Brampton, Wigton, Kirkby Stephen, Millom and Ambleside.

Have your say

It would save even more money and keep the sites open for longer - if they stopped having meetings. Really is there a need for a "Task Group". How much is that going to cost?

Just keep the recyling centres ope!

Posted by Judith Winder on 14 March 2012 at 16:15

I too welcome the u-turn, but would be interested to know exactly what costs have been incurred in the proposal and then the change of mind. I really think our councils need people with some common sense to make decisions on our behalf.

Posted by anon on 13 March 2012 at 08:35

View all 4 comments on this article

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