A PROTEST march and demonstration could be staged outside County Hall, Preston, in an effort to show the anger felt in Garstang at plans to close Claughton ‘tip’.
Cabus borough councillor Roger Brooks, who has volunteered to help lead the campaign to save the threatened waste centre from closure, is calling for the greater Garstang community to rally round the cause.
The retired solicitor says a march and demo are a possibility, but stresses before they are discussed it is vital to prepare a factual case – getting together as much evidence as possible to counter the county council’s closure arguments.
He has contacted Garstang County councillor Val Wilson to obtain figures about the tonnages of ‘white goods’ dropped off at Claughton, as well as to find out which household waste centres around the county receive the most and the least household and garden rubbish.
Coun Brooks is also keen to hear from members of the public interested in joining a Save our Tip campaign – and in particular from people in the outlying villages so he can build up an impression of how households throughout greater Garstang use the facility.
He said: “I intend to rise to the challenge laid down in last week’s Courier.”
He added: “I am happy to get banners and leaflets, but before that we need the figures and statistics.”
Coun Brooks’ rallying call came as Garstang councillors branded facts and figures presented in Lancashire County Council’s consultation review ‘inaccurate’ at their meeting on Monday night.
Coun David Williams accused LCC of “devious manipulation”, making their conclusions on assessments made at the wrong time of the year.
He said: “This is nothing new, it is hardly the right time to do a survey on waste disposal in February.
“How can people seriously be expected to make round trips of 40 miles to Fleetwood and it is certainly not 8.4 miles to Ingol.
“The service we have at Claughton is just what a public service should be and they should be given an award.”
Coun Alan Cornthwaite added: “It really concerns me how many facts and figures in this report are inaccurate.’’
Coun Halford said the costs to the taxpayer travelling to alternative sites would total more than the £350,000 the council was hoping to save by closing the facility.
Residents also attended Monday night’s town council meeting to protest against the decision. A number of them voiced their anger on proposals and spoke of the impact the closure would have on the community.
Garstang resident Peter Ryder called the move “false economy”. He said: “To force people to take their waste to Preston is absolutely ludicrous.
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“Once again it is the rural community that bares the brunt – a 22-mile round trip to Ingol is not viable, people won’t take their waste that far, rubbish will be dumped.”
Others said consideration should have been given to the fact the Claughton tip is recognised as one of the best recycling facilities in Lancashire and accepts hard plastics and asbestos unlike other sites.
County Coun Wilson reiterated the county council’s position on needing to find £179m savings over the next three years and added that in a comparable county, Kent, there were only eight household waste recycling centres to Lancashire’s 19.
But she stressed that the Garstang community should “keep on fighting” and said she would set-up a meeting with LCC executive director for the environment Jo Turton.
She said: “If everyone can make their voices heard, hopefully we might get things changed.”
Garstang Mayor Coun Lady Dulcie Atkins recommended a letter be sent to Jo Turton and for the town council to mount a petition against the plans.
* Coun Roger Brooks, who lives in Winmarleigh, can be contacted on 01995 601995 or via email on firstname.lastname@example.org about the campaign.
Resident letters about the issue should be sent to Jo Turton, executive director for the environment, environment directorate, Lancashire County Council, Waste Management Group, PO Box 78, County Hall, Fishergate, Preston PR1 8XJ.