Option to close rubbish tip for part of week ‘not acceptable’

Burgess Hill waste and recycling centre. SR1720260. Pic Steve Robards SUS-170828-114140001
Burgess Hill waste and recycling centre. SR1720260. Pic Steve Robards SUS-170828-114140001

Closing Burgess Hill’s rubbish tip for part of the week ‘would not be acceptable’ according to one of the town’s county councillors.

Last year West Sussex County Council decided to shut its Household Waste Recycling Sites (HWRSs) for two days a week apart from those at Westhampnett, Crawley, and Burgess Hill, which remain open all week.

At the same time charges for waste such as DIY, plasterboard, soil and hard core were introduced, while opening hours were reduced at all West Sussex HWRSs.

These charges were suspended in April, and the county council has now set up a task and finish group to look at winter opening hours.

One of the options is ‘whether any of the sites need to stay open seven days a week’, a spokesman said.

The spokesman added: “A significant change like this will be looked at very carefully, considering current usage and ensuring reasonably near alternative sites are available on any closed days.”

Kirsty Lord (LDem, Hassocks and Burgess Hill South) said: “I am concerned about any moves to reduce the hours or opening days of Burgess Hill HWRS particularly given there are no other sites within easy reach for south Mid Sussex residents and encouraging users to travel long distances is environmentally unsound.

“I am also worried about the potential for increased fly tipping.

“I and the other Lib Dems at WSCC oppose any move to reduce opening days and times across the county. We campaigned for and got longer summer hours at Littlehampton and Bognor.

“While shorter winter hours per se are not a problem, closures for 1-2 days per week have been a real problem elsewhere and would not be acceptable in Burgess Hill.”

The reason given for keeping Burgess Hill’s HWRS, in Fairbridge Way, open seven days a week is because it acts as a waste transfer station for household waste collections carried out by the districtcouncil.

The nearest sites are East Grinstead, Crawley, and Horsham.

While Crawley is also open seven days a week, both Horsham and East Grinstead are closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

The rubbish tips are open from 10am-5pm during the winter and 10am-7pm throughout the summer.

Following feedback from businesses in Bognor Regis and residents in Littlehampton the opening hours of both towns’ rubbish tips have been extended slightly on a trial basis.

Back in July, Deborah Urquhart (Con, Angmering and Findon), cabinet member for the environment, explained that she had set up a task and finish group to review the opening hours, which will then make recommendations to her.

She added: “We will be looking to review those hours, not a one size fits all approach but to see what we can come up with in the financial envelope.”

Cllr Urquhart continued: “We will take a calm and measured approach.”

Both the Labour and Lib Dem groups at County Hall have called for the closures and reductions in opening hours to be reversed, and the charges to be permanently scrapped.

When the entire package of cuts was implemented last October, the county council said it would save the authority around £2million a year.

The council’s Tory cabinet was asked when it would be reimbursing residents who had been charged.

Cllr Urquhart replied: “It was quite legal to charge at that point so now we are not obliged to refund it.”

For more information on recycling sites visit www.recycleforwestsussex.org/recycling-sites

What do you think of the possibility of further cuts at Burgess Hill’s HWRS? Send letters for publication to middy.news@jpress.co.uk