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Councillors confirm HWRCs to remain open
RECYCLING centres earmarked for closure have been saved, Cumbria County Councillors unanimously confirmed in their Cabinet meeting today.
Tips at Kirkby Stephen, Ambleside and Grange-over-Sands have been spared the axe, although their hours will be scaled back to cut costs.
But councillors warned that because Household Waste Recycling Centres have been saved, cuts may need to be made in other services to cover the shortfall created by keeping tips open.
The original proposal to close HWRCs created a £2million saving, but keeping tips open at reduced hours saves £1.5million a year, meaning that another half a million pounds needs to be found elsewhere.
“Finding savings isn’t easy and we are going to have to make some unpopular decisions,” said leader of the council Coun Eddie Martin.
Deputy leader of the council Stewart Young said: “The situation which the county council is in is forcing us to find ways of saving huge amounts of money - it is unprecedented in the history of the county council.”
Diane Wood, corporate director of resources, said: “These are difficult times and all of us owe it to each other to geth through these savings.”
CCC received 2,600 responses to a consultation it held earlier this year on the potential closure of HWRCs, and councillors said the public’s reaction was the reason why centres would remain open.
HWRCs at Ambleside, Grange and Kirkby Stephen will now be open two days a week, including one day during the week and one at weekends, while Kendal’s centre will be reduced to five days a week and Ulverston’s four days a week.
All HWRCs will also move to seasonal opening hours, with tips being open 9am to 6pm in April to September and 9am to 4pm from October to March.
“The new arrangements are fairer for everyone and spread the burder of having to make savings across the whole HWRC network rather than going for all-out closure on any single sites,” said Coun Tim Knowles, CCC’s Cabinet member responsible for the environment.
“In the consultation people told us that they would rather have a site that’s available less often than no site at all, so that’s what we’re delivering.
“In an ideal world we wouldn’t have to cut our opening hours or our days, but in a financial climate where the council has had to make £44million of savings last year, plus more than £20million this year, something has to give.”