Agenda item

Household Waste & Recycling Centre- Consultation results and draft recommendations

To review the results of the consultation relating to the Household Waste and Recycling Centre and draft recommendations since the last review on the 12 Feb 2021.


Due to the large number of public speakers, visiting Member presence and general public interest in this item, the Committee agreed to bring this item forward.


Councillor Laura Crane, Portfolio Holder for Highways and Waste, introduced this item and addressed some of the points made by public speakers.  Firstly the Committee were advised that the draft Cabinet report had been provided with the in light of the feedback from the previous meeting that Members considered there was not enough information to make an informed decision to scrutinise properly.  The recommendation to Cabinet was a replacement Household Waste Recycling Centre would not be provided in Congleton when the lease on the current Congleton Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) expired in September 2021.   Councillor Crane agreed that a Task and Finish Group could be a good idea to move forward with new ideas.  Finally Councillor Crane noted that rural communities within the borough had never had any HWRC within a drivable distance.


Councillor Crane then handed over to Frank Jordan, Deputy Chief Executive and Executive Director for Place to give an overview of the report contained within the agenda.  Frank reminded the Committee that the proposal was at a draft stage but it was important for this Committee to consider the options. 


There were two that were key:


1)    Environmental.  The recommendation would support the Councils Environment and Waste strategies, in particular the strategic objective to reduce waste.


2)    Finance and Value for Money.   Current provision was favourable to the published guidance, as 96% of the borough would be able to reach a HWRC within 20 mins.

The current HWRC contract would end in March 2023.  The current market was volatile, and there was a significant risk that the costs would be higher and the key issue with Congleton, was the site was not in the Council’s ownership.  The £4 million within the report to provide a new centre for Congleton was  based on a specification, scope and size for Congleton, and acquisition costs.  Any comparison would need to be on a similar specification.  The cost of borrowing £4million would be £250k per annum and this was not in the council budget.  The recommendation did not include a replacement facility. 


Ralph Kemp, Head of Environmental Services confirmed that the council had looked at the results of closing the Arclid site, and that the Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) took into account a worst case scenario.


Ralph reminded the Committee that under the existing service there were rural communities that had never had access to a HWRC and those who do not have a car, and this did not feed into the fairness strand of CEC Corporate Plan.


The Chairman queried if any further work had been done, since the last meeting, on the potential to buy the current Congleton site with a sensible offer.  Frank confirmed there had been several approaches to the freeholder, who had confirmed the site was not available for sale.


The Committee were invited to ask questions.


There was some discussion on:


·         the validity of the effect of air quality;

·         a previous Cabinet project that identified two potential alternative sites for Congleton;

·         the possibility of re-prioritising funds through the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) to fund a new site in Congleton;

·         the fact the consultation was so unpopular and yet the proposal is to close the site at Congleton;

·         that it would take between 10-15 years potentially to change the culture that related to reduction of waste;

·         queries about the breakdown of the £4million costs for a new centre in Congleton;

·         the impact of the Congleton closure on surrounding sites and potential road traffic incidents;

·         the impact of new housing developments to Congleton;

·         the impacts of more people travelling on the environment and potential issues with flytipping;

·         whether the Covid-19 restrictions had impacted the data being used;

·         whether any modelling had taken into account Biddulph or other areas;

·         whether some of the users were small businesses and how that was represented in the data;

·         the potential to relaunch the council waste volunteer programme in a bid to reduce waste;

Ralph gave assurances and advice to the Committee that:


·         data showed that people did not flytip more when the Arclid site closed;

·         the estimated CO2 emissions impact were listed within the report;

·         Post-lockdown visitor numbers at the HWRC had been in line with other years so considered to be valid; and

·         Cheshire East were in conversation with other Local Authorities to potentially use their sites too.

Visiting Members were given the opportunity to speak and raised the following points:


·         Councillor Rob Moreton suggested passing the decision on Congleton to the newly formed Communities and Environment Committee in May rather than going to Cabinet in April.

Councillor Sally Holland raised the issue of road infrastructure, the £4 million breakdown of costs, the CO2 figures and questioned if they were they taken during Covid closure in March 2020, the inequality in Congleton in that residents would have to travel 40 minutes roundtrip to tip, and she felt it was irresponsible to think flytipping wouldn’t increase, Councillor Holland was in favour of a Task and Finish Group to find a possible solution.

·         Councillor David Brown had previously circulated his concerns via email to the Committee and asked that they be considered.  He felt there needed to be a case for a HWRC in Congleton. 

·         Councillor Denis Murphy did not accept the reasons being given to close the site at Congleton and requested that Cabinet and officers change the recommendation.

Ralph gave assurances to the visiting Members that the figures were taken after the first national lockdown and was a reasonable representation of previous years.  The £4million estimated cost for a replacement site was based on an Assets assessment.


Paul Bayley, Director for Environment and Neighbourhood Services added that flytipping continued to be monitored and a pilot had been launched on a neighbourhood in Crewe where the majority of flytipping had been identified.


The Committee had some discussion about the possibility of a Task and Finish Group, and there were concerns raised as to the capacity that group would have to complete any substantial work before September 2021. 




·         Frank and Ralph be thanked for their attendance and updates to the Committee;

·         Peter Skates provide any written correspondence between the Assets Team and the current landowner in respect of potential land sale and/or negotiations;

·         Ralph Kemp to liaise with the Communications Team to discuss the possibility of promoting the Volunteer Waste Programme operated by ANSA;

·         A Task and Finish Group be formed to urgently investigate all the options available to retain a Household Waste Recycling Centre in Congleton; and

·         For no permanent closure of HWRC provision in Congleton.







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