Councillors have made another plea in their fight to prevent the closure of Congleton’s tip amid concern that it will put more pressure on Alsager’s household waste recycling centre.
There are also fears it could lead to an increase in fly-tipping. One such incident this week saw dumped furniture including the base of a bed, a sofa, cushions, an ironing board and other household waste strewn along the verges of Mill Lane, Hassall.
If Congleton’s tip did close, residents would be faced with the option of travelling six miles to Macclesfield’s tip or eight miles to Alsager’s.
On Monday, Congleton town councillors again urged Cheshire East Council to reconsider the planned closure during a meeting of the borough’s Environment and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee, which voted in favour of establishing a “task and finish” group to look at all available options for when the current site closes.
The lease on the land at the existing site off Barn Road runs out later this year and owners Bluemantle want to turn it into a Costa Coffee drive-through outlet.
Congleton Coun Kay Wesley, the Women’s Equality Party representative on the town council, highlighted to Cheshire East the environmental impacts on the borough if the tip did close.
She said: “It’s clear looking at Cheshire East’s own analysis and the responses from the public consultation, that the closure of the Congleton tip would lead to longer journeys and more carbon emissions.
“Most Congleton households are not within a 15-minute drive of Macclesfield or Alsager in normal traffic conditions.”
In recent weeks long queues have been forming at the entrance to Alsager’s tip in Hassall Road with vehicles backed up around the bend heading back towards Alsager to the junction with Heath End Road.
Coun Wesley addressed the borough’s current environmental strategy as she urged the scrutiny committee to consider the council’s ambitions to “reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality”.
Addressing the scrutiny committee, Congleton Lib Dem Robert Douglas explained that residents had been challenging the Labour and Independent-run Cheshire East administration’s claim that a new recycling site would cost £4m.
He said: “How is it that Norfolk can build a site for £1.9m and Nottingham another for £2.5m. Cheshire East is paying £27,500 each year for our existing site and is willing to continue to pay that sum.
“By deducting this figure, the additional cost for a £2m site would be less than £100,000 per year, less than 40% of the cost constantly quoted in this document. £100,000 is just 0.01% of Cheshire East’s budget.”
Coun Douglas requested that a working group be formed by the scrutiny committee with the aim of finding possible solutions, before reporting back in six months’ time.
Fellow Lib Dem town councillor Paul Duffy also spoke at Monday’s meeting. He said: “We are repeatedly told there is no money left, however the capital programme is currently set at £128m for projects in Cheshire East.
“Surely it would be reasonable to suggest that £100,000 could be found from a figure of £128m.
“Given other councils have built recycling sites at a much lower cost, the service cost for ours would only be in the region of £100,000 for interest in capital repayments, a small affordable cost for any organisation of Cheshire East’s size.”
Coun Duffy pointed out that with the construction of 4,500 homes in and around Congleton, that would lead to Cheshire East pocketing an additional £8.5m each year.
The future of Congleton’s Household Waste Recycling Centre is expected to be decided at a meeting of Cheshire East Council’s Cabinet on Tuesday, 13th April.