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Waste strategy bid to save £750K ‘unravels’
OXFORDSHIRE County Council’s leader has refused to rule out job or service cuts to cover any savings lost in its unravelling flagship waste plan.
The authority hoped to build a £3m superdump in Kidlington and close household recycling centres in Standford in the Vale and Ardley as part of a wider shake-up to save £750,000.
The sum was part of the county’s commitment to save £119m in four years which was agreed last year.
But recycling centres destined for closure now could stay open as the Kidlington tip plan, the centre piece of the policy, is in doubt because of land ownership problems.
Leader Ian Hudspeth last night said: “Everything is being reviewed.”
But he refused to say where the money could come from, adding: “We will be looking at all options. I wouldn’t like to rule anything out or in. We will just be looking to provide the best solution for everybody including our workforce.”
Ardley Fields near Bicester was due to close in September 2013 and the Stanford in the Vale centre in December 2014.
But senior councillors have told the Oxford Mail both now look likely to remain open.
The council has already backtracked over a key policy to close Redbridge to the public under its four-year Household Waste Recycling Centre strategy (HWRC) which was set in April last year.
But Mr Hudspeth said it was not known when any decision on the strategy would take place.
Labour county councillor John Tanner said the council had been told Ardley would stay open because the Kidlington scheme looked unlikely.
Mr Tanner also represents Oxford City Council on Oxfordshire Waste Partnership, a cross-council body that oversees waste and recycling.
He said: “Their whole recycling centre strategy is just unravelling. All the centres they looked to close now look like staying open.”
Chris Thornton, chairman of Ardley with Fewcott Parish Council, said there was now a stay of execution on the Ardley centre. He added: “Now is the time for the council to reconsider and permanently leave the Ardley site open.”
The Oxford Mail understands it would cost £100,000 a year to keep the Stanford in the Vale site open.
Council spokesman Paul Smith insisted no decisions had been made.
He said: “No plan that spans four year, regardless of the subject matter, should be inflexible or unresponsive to changed circumstances.
“The county council remains committed to the aims of our HWRC strategy; that facilities should be well located for centres of population and as circumstances change we will keep our plans for recycling centres under review.”
THE STORY SO FAR
- December 2010: Oxfordshire County Council puts forward strategy aimed at saving £750,000. It involves closing three tips and opening £3m Kidlington superdump.
- March 2011 : Authority backtracks over plans to close Oxford’s Redbridge recycling centre to the public and also over plans to allow ‘black bag’ general waste at Kidlington only.
- April 2011: The four-year plan, which includes shutting Stanford in the Vale and Ardley centres, is approved by the council.
- September 2011: Dean Pit in West Oxfordshire closes and the council gives the Kidlington scheme planning permission.
- May 2012: Kidlington tip plan cast into doubt as confusion over landowner arises.
- July 2012: Oxfordshire County Council reviews the strategy.
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