The 2700 signature petition aimed at keeping the Beckfield Lane Recycling Centre open was handed in to last night’s Council meeting. Councillors had been lobbied by local residents as they arrived for the meeting (right).
Presenting the petition Liberal Democrat Councillor Ann Reid said,
“Beckfield Lane Household Waste and Recycling Centre is a well used facility in Acomb Ward which serves the needs of the west of the city”
The petition has been signed by residents from across the whole of the west of the city, many from the villages of Rural West such as Poppleton, Rufforth and Copmanthorpe. Not surprisingly the bulk of the support has come from the Acomb, Westfield and Holgate Wards but it has also been signed by residents from Micklegate, Fishergate, Guildhall and Clifton.
Closure of the site will force residents to drive much further, many through the City Centre, in order to dispose of their waste all adding to poor air quality and traffic congestion. Yes, there is a small minority who will cycle but that is not feasible for most of the waste that is currently taken to Beckfield Lane. Many won’t even bother to drive to Hazel Court and will either put waste into their grey bin or, even worse, fly tip. Both of those will decrease the amount recycled, some thing that increased under our administration. Increasing recycling was indentified in your (Labour) budget to achieve your savings target.
I would have assumed that in the run up to the budget Labour would have received all the financial information needed, including the cost of maintaining and, if necessary, improving Beckfield Lane and we could be having a debate tonight. If that is not to be the case then, taking into account the support for the site from residents, at the very least the closure of Beckfield Lane should be postponed until Council is able to debate it.
I also call on the Leader not to start any property sale until the final decision is made”.
Later in the meeting a Motion proposed by Cllr Reid to keep the centre open was referred for Cabinet consideration without a debate.
As the numbers of residents petitioning the council has passed both the Epetition and paper thresholds, it is now required by its constitution to consider the issue formally.
This means that the timetable could now look something like this:
• 4th April – Scheduled “Cabinet” meeting (Beckfield Lane may be added to the agenda as an “urgent” item)
• 12th April – Last date to sign the Epetition on Council web site
• 16th April – Beckfield Lane Recycling Centre scheduled to close
• 15th May – Earliest the “Cabinet” is likely to discuss the issue
• 19th July – Next scheduled Council meeting
In reality it is only the Council leadership who are resisting at least a stay of execution for the site. Some Councillors have indicated that they are prepared to attend a special Council meeting to discuss the issue.
Lobbying is likely to intensify over the next couple of weeks.
Residents also have until 12th April to add their support to the petition on the Councils web site (although it will not be available over the weekend because of scheduled “downtime”)
Beckfield Lane already has, by a margin, the largest number of supporters for an Epetition ever collected via the York Council web site.