Bledlow Household Recycling Centre Action Group launch bid to reopen closed recycling centre

The Bledlow Recycling Centre closed in March this year
The Bledlow Recycling Centre closed in March this year

Despite huge opposition, Bledlow Recycling Centre was shut down by Buckinghamshire County Council (BCC) earlier this year.

A group of campaigners, led by a local councillor have launched an audacious bid to have the centre re-opened and run as a private enterprise.

The Bledlow Household Recycling Centre Action Group have recruited a 12 local town and Parish Councils to fight and fund-raise for the re-opening of the centre.

Campaigner and local Councillor Bill Bendyshe-Brown said:

"I ran a campaign by setting up an on-line petition as well as having paper petitions in local Princes Risborough shops to oppose the closure.

"Local meetings were organised by Princes Risborough Town Council where BCC were asked to justify their decision which received huge opposition.

"Further I appeared on BBC South Today as well as on local radio stations to voice my objection. Despite all this, including nearly 4,500 electronic and paper petition objections BCC went ahead with the closure on 31st March this year."

The site was earmarked for closure by BCC member Bill Chapple, who had to save a significant sum of money in a tight County Council Budget.

Bledlow was picked because it had a fairly low car count, according to Councillow Bill Bendyshe-Brown.

He contended that it wasn't the lowest car count, but problems had arose from 30% of cars coming from Oxfordshire whose County Council refused to help subsidise the site.

BCC refuted this, claiming Bledlow Recycling Centre did have the lowest car count.

Bill Chapple OBE, Cabinet Member for Planning & Environment, Buckinghamshire County Council said:

"Bledlow HRC had the lowest number of visitors of all the ten HRCs in Buckinghamshire, and over 30% of these were actually residents of Oxfordshire, as the site is quite near the border.

"As Bledlow was a municipal facility run by the County Council as Waste Authority, it is not possible to simply transfer planning permission for the site to a private enterprise. A new application would have to be made so that it could be considered on its own merits and any objections heard."

An initial cost estimate of £10k has been issued for planning permission to reopen the site.

Bill Bendyshe-Brown added: "The problem we have is that the planning permission was vested in BCC not to the site (for historic reasons) so we have to go through the whole process of obtaining planning permission to be vested in the site.

"It was agreed by the action group that we would set up a Just Giving site to ask local residents to contribute towards the required funding."

They have so far raised nearly six and a half thousand pounds, but are looking for a further

The main issues around the site is that planning permission was vested in BCC - not to the site where the recycling centre is.

This means the action group have to go through the hassle of obtaining planning permission again.

This will be a costly process, which is why the action group are looking to fundraise.

Bledlow Recycling Centre used to be a landfill site up until 1974, owned by Wycombe Borough Council but after the reorganisation of local government in 1974 where WDC became responsible for collection and BCC became responsible for disposal, the site was passed to BCC who then obtained planning permission to turn it from a landfill into to a HRC.

Bill added that BCC were not willing to port the planning consent to the action group.

If you would like to donate to the cause, click here.
At the time BCC wrote:

"Unfortunately, the required cost savings cannot be made without at least one site closure. Our analysis of the whole network shows that closure of Bledlow HRC will cause the least disruption for residents of the county taken as a whole.

"This site is one of the least used. Also, due to how many visitors from outside Buckinghamshire it receives, Bledlow HRC is one of the most expensive to run.

"The cabinet decision also agreed to close Burnham HRC, but this has been deferred to September. More information on this will follow in due course."