Developments over Southwold recycling site

THE saga about household waste recycling centres at Southwold and Beccles took a new twist this week.

Suffolk County Council announced on Tuesday, that the two closure-threatened sites and four others in the county would be given a temporary reprieve until the end of July.

The sites had been due to shut on May 9 because of Suffolk's budget cuts, only for Waveney District Council to agree to pump in �140,000 to keep them running for six months.

But the county council's latest announcement means that it will foot the bill for keeping the Southwold and Beccles sites open until July, and Waveney will pay for the remaining three months.

That means Waveney's financial commitment will be halved, to �70,000.

Between now and July 31 the council council will work with Waveney and with Southwold and Beccles town councils to see if the sites can be saved from the axe.

A Waveney spokesman said: 'Our offer of funding to keep the sites open until November remains on the table should it be needed.

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'However, this announcement clearly recognises the wish of local communities to keep them open in the longer term and we will follow developments with great interest, providing appropriate support wherever possible."

This week's announcement followed public outcry about Suffolk's plans to close a third of its waste recycling sites.

The authority received 8,000 letters and responses from individuals and councils, most of them objecting to the proposal.

Ideas mooted by people included: setting up pay-per-use sites, encouraging district and parish council to fund sites, or creating local recycling projects.

Suffolk council wants to close the centres to save �2.3m because of low levels of government funding. It will cost the council �180,000 to keep the six sites open until July 31.

Lisa Chambers, Suffolk's portfolio-holder for waste, said: 'We have made this decision in direct response to the views of Suffolk residents.

'People are telling me they are very willing to look at paying for the service rather than lose their site and would like more time to come up with new ways of working.

'I believe it is important that we listen to feedback from communities and, when possible, act on that feedback.

'In this case that is what we have done.'