Garstang gets its tip back

County Coun Sandra Perkins celebrates persuading the county council to reopen the tip
County Coun Sandra Perkins celebrates persuading the county council to reopen the tip

Garstang’s former tip – shut two years ago as part of County Hall cost-cutting – is to reopen, possibly by the end of the year.

The unexpected though welcome decision has been revealed by Garstang county councillor Sandra Perkins, who has been a leading campaigner for the restoration of the Claughton household waste recycling centre.

In new plans kept under wraps until this week, the Labour-led county council is preparing to reinstate the tip, overturning the closure decision of previous Conservative administration.

County Coun Perkins said: “I am absolutely delighted, over the moon.

“In the nine months I have been a county councillor, I have made the views of the people of Garstang and district about the tip very obvious. People are continually stopping me in the street and asking me what is happening.

From this week things are a lot clearer. I have always been optimistic that we could restore the tip - this is great news for Garstang and district.”

More details of how the re-opened Claughton depot will operate are expected to be released over the next few months.

The new regime is likely to see the tip open up to three days a week instead of the previous seven. Charges may be introduced for dumping certain kinds of rubbish such as rubble and concrete.

Outlining the ‘reverse gear’ decision at County Hall, Coun Perkins said after the change of political control last summer her lobbying helped prompt the formation of a task group re-examining the future of Lancashire’s HWRCs, including the Claughton site. She was had seat on the all-party group ant pressed Garsang’s case.

The task group’s findings led to a confidential report on the future of HWRCs. It was discussed in private at two meetings at County Hall last week, including Friday’s meeting of the ruling cabinet.

At both meetings councillors voted to bar the press and public. The cabinet meeting agreed to the re-opening of Claughton.

Four years ago the proposed closure of Claughton tip led to protests in a large swathe of the rural area stretching from Galgate to Barton and Over Wyre.

Efforts by the Save Tip In Garstang (STING) pressure group to persuade the then Conservative administration to change its mind fell on deaf ears.

The closure had environmental implications, with worries about an increase in fly-tipping and householders being forced to travel to HWRCs at Ingol, Lancaster or Fleetwood to dump their rubbish.

It also had a political implications, when at the May 2013 elections the sitting Garstang Tory county councillor, Val Wilson, lost her seat to Mrs Perkins, standing as an independent with the backing of the Garstang Independent Group (GIG, which grew out of STING).

After last Friday’s cabinet meeting supporting the re-opening of the Claughton site, Mrs Perkins pressed to be permitted to make the decision public - and was given the all clear by council bosses.

A authorised statement sent to Coun Perkins by Coun Janice Hanson, cabinet member for waste policy, says it is hoped to re-open the tip before April 2015.

Her statement adds the opening hours of all the county’s HWRCs are to be examined. There is also a suggestion that different tips around the county might be run in different ways.

Coun Hanson’s statement adds: “We are aiming to provide a bespoke service to all our residents realising that one size does not fit all.”