7:00am Monday 20th February 2012
By Tom Jennings
A NEW recycling centre near Chipping Norton could open in the summer to tackle potential fly-tipping caused by the closure of the nearby Dean Pit site.
Oxfordshire County Council shut Dean Pit, near Chadlington, last September as part of a programme of closures to cut costs.
Now West Oxfordshire District Council is set to spend £190,000 creating a new recycling centre.
Dean Pit’s closure caused an angry backlash, with 2,000 people from Charlbury, Chipping Norton and surrounding villages signing a petition against the plan. Residents warned it could increase fly-tipping and result in hour-long trips to the nearest dump at Dix Pit, outside Stanton Harcourt.
But now, after a five-month feasibility study, West Oxfordshire District Council has stepped in and agreed to turn the former council depot at Greystones, south of Chipping Norton, into a recycling centre.
The scheme will cost £190,000 but the council hopes to generate £22,000 a year in revenue through recycling credits, meaning the site could pay for itself in eight years.
David Harvey, the cabinet member for the environment, said: “This falls exactly in line with the council’s policy of wanting to recycle more and send less to landfill. When the county council decided to close the Dean Pit we looked to see if there was any way it could be kept open and there was not.
“We cannot confirm what is going to be recycled at Greystones at this moment but it is our wish to have the widest possible remit.
“I would hope we could have it open in the summer but we still have a number of hurdles to jump.”
He added: “We have not noticed a sudden dramatic upsurge in the amount of fly-tipping since Dean Pit closed but we are mindful that could still happen.
“Fly-tipping tends to increase in the spring, because you have more house-building going on. The winter period tends to be quieter.”
The Greystones scheme will have to go through a pre-planning consultation period and then secure planning permission before it can open. The cabinet decision, made on Wednesday, will go through a call-in period before it is ratified.
Liz Leffman, who led a campaign to save Dean Pit, said: “I’m very pleased. It shows the council is listening. The intention is to have as wide a range of recycling options as they had before, so it looks as though it will be a good replacement for Dean Pit.”
She added: “If this had not happened people in the northern part of West Oxfordshire would have been at a serious disadvantage.
“We would have a lot more fly tipping, but that is still risk because it will be several months for this to be up and running.”
She added it was “counter productive” to ask people to recycle more and then close a recycling centre and force long carbon-emitting car journeys to recycle.
The county council plans to close more recycling centres, including Ardley in autumn next year and Alkerton and Stanford in the Vale in late 2014.
A new centre in Kidlington could open this year and a new north Oxfordshire site will open in late 2014. Redbridge, in Oxford, will close for refurbishment after Kidlington opens and will reopen for trade-only recycling during the week and household recycling at weekends and bank holidays.
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