COMMUNITY campaigners are putting the finishing touches to the arguments which they hope will save Claughton tip from closure.
Both Save Tip in Garstang (STING) leader Bob Lobell and Wyre Coun Roger Brooks have prepared detailed documents aimed at persuading the county council to reverse plans to close the household waste and recycling centre this autumn.
The dossiers will be delivered to county hall later this week, along with Garstang Town Council’s petition which has attracted more than 6,000 signatures opposing the closure.
As Friday’s deadline for the submission of comments nears, Garstang town mayor Coun Lady Dulcie Atkins issued a defiant message to her Conservative colleagues who rule County Hall, telling them: “If they understand the meaning of democracy, they must listen and reverse this retrograde, short-sighted and environmentally-unsound policy now.”
In his report Mr Lobell says: “We believe that far more people would be adversely impacted by the closure recommendation than is assumed in the county review document.”
He says STING’s defence of Claughton tip shouldn’t be seen as an attempt to substitute its closure at the expense of another in the county.
He adds: “It is rather that there could well be an alternative to closure for this high performing and strategically well located facility.”
Coun Brooks’ report points out that thousands of households will be affected, not just in Wyre, but in neighbouring parts of both Lancaster, (particularly in the Galgate/Thurnham/Ellel area) and rural north Preston.
He said many householders in south Lancaster preferred using Claughton tip than going to the Lancaster Salt Ayre tip because “it is less stressful travelling to Claughton than fighting your way across the Greyhound Bridge.”
Coun Brooks said there was strong support for the fight from parish councils and Wyre Council.
In the course of his research Coun Brooks has also discovered a 2009 report by consultancy company Hyder, commissioned by the county council, which looked at ways to possibly rationalise the household waste recycling centres in Lancashire - but made no suggestion that Claughton be closed.
He said: “I will be asking the question - what has changed?”
Asked if he was confident of winning, Coun Brooks replied: “I am entirely confident of winning the argument. I cannot predict how councillors will take their decision. If they are listening to the argument they should reject the closure recommendation.”
In a specially written forward to the STING report, reflecting the widespread community concern, Garstang Chamber of Trade spokesman Damian Carr writes: “The household waste recycling centre is part and parcel of the way that we care about our local community. It allows us to dispose of our waste materials responsibly and also in the knowledge that we are reducing the need for landfill to a minimum.”
Coun Lady Atkins added: “We have 6,398 signatures against the proposal.
“But, taken with the e-petition, currently numbering 1,313, this is a substantial, forceful and determined expression of local opinion to county’s leaders.”
The date when the final decision on the tip will be made is uncertain, though it is thought likely to be within the next few weeks.
It will be made by deputy county leader Coun Albert Atkinson, who will receive a full report on the consultation from county officers.
* Comment and Letters, page 6