Final proposals delayed due to 6,000 responses to consultation on future of Bucks recycling services

Cllr Bill Chapple
Cllr Bill Chapple

Thousands of people responded to a consultation into the potential closure of rubbish centres in Bucks – forcing the council to delay the unveiling of the final proposals by a month.

In August Bucks County Council announced at least one recycling centre could be closed down in a desperate bid to save £1.2 million amid huge “financial pressures”.

An eight-week consultation saw 6,000 people share their views on the controversial plans, which include a proposal to close down the Bledlow Ridge and Burnham centres.

Speaking at a meeting of Bucks County Council’s cabinet on November 12 cabinet member for planning and environment, Bill Chapple, said it would be “very tight” to get through all the contributions by the original planned date of December 10.

He now hopes to have the final proposals ready by January 7 – and will work to implement the new plans by April 1.

Cllr Chapple said: “We have had almost 6,000 people respond and a lot of letters from parishes, districts and individual letters.

“To get it all together would make it very, very tight for us to get to December 10.

“It is still our intention to work for an April 1 implementation.

“It will be tight, but we will do our best.”

The county council is still pushing forward with the cuts after plans to scrap the main councils in Bucks and replace them with a unitary authority were given the green light by government this month.

Cllr Chapple said: “I have had letters from people saying will this still be going ahead?

“I have got to say this, and will say it sincerely, it will still be going ahead because my issue was all around a budgetary pressure, and on April 1 next year I will still have a budgetary pressure of £1.2 million.”

It currently costs £3 million a year to run and maintain all the centres, so a raft of other plans have been considered, including reducing the number of open days at the sites in Aylesbury, Chesham and Burnham from seven days a week down to five.

There are also plans to introduce charges at all sites for some types of rubbish.

Residents from outside of Bucks could also be charged for disposing all types of waste at the county’s recycling centres, or they could be prevented from using them all together.