PEOPLE power is flexing its muscle in greater Garstang with the campaign to save Claughton household waste recycling centre moving up a gear.
Residents have joined forces to fight the proposals - with local hostility towards the plans laid bare at a stormy public meeting last week.
Over 1,100 people have now signed the county council e-petition opposing the tip closure and a newly-formed action group STING (Save tip in Garstang) has started work on a rebuttal document against the county council review report.
Tensions ran high at the packed meeting held at Claughton Village Hall as members of the public gave their arguments as to why the proposal to close Claughton ‘tip’ at Claughton Industrial Estate, is flawed and will have major implications for the rural community.
Angry residents accused county council bosses of going against their own mission statements and not stepping up to face the public.
Around 150 people turned out to the meeting, including lead campaigner Coun Roger Brooks, MEP Sir Robert Atkins, Alf Clempson, researcher for MP Ben Wallace, Garstang’s County Coun Val Wilson and town councillors.
MEP Robert Atkins said the proposals were “totally misguided” without answering realistic questions and looking properly at the issue.
He said: “I have never seen such outrage, it is just a tip but is so important in what it achieves and what it does for the town.”
He added his anger at the refusal of council leaders to attend a public meeting and said he would take it upon himself to approach council chiefs.
One resident said: “I think they need reminding they are our public servants and need to make their cause to us as to why this closure should go ahead. They need to be seen and should be here.”
County Coun Val Wilson said although she had not been “jumping up or down” in her protests against proposals, work was being done “behind the scenes” to get the voices of the community heard.
“I’d like to reassure you I’m doing my best, various options are being discussed,” she said, “nothing is being done, it is not just going to be closed, things are being looked at that the general public are not aware of.”
E-petition leader and STING chairman Roger Lobell added in Warwickshire, where sites were also under threat, the decision had been made to have tips run by volunteers rather than close them,
He said: “I’m a little bit bothered LCC are not being very creative - it seems shut the site or nothing.”
County Council Leader Geoff Driver has defended the move not to hold a public meeting and said the consultation would continue as planned with all correspondence taken into account before decision maker coun Albert Atkinson made his final recommendations.