Plans to permanently close at least one Bucks rubbish tip and reduce opening hours at others were “reluctantly” given the green light by county council chiefs this morning.

Today Bucks County Council’s (BCC) cabinet met in Aylesbury to have the final say on the controversial proposals – which will see £1.2 million slashed from the budget.

Despite thousands of concerned residents opposing the move, councillors approved the closure of the Bledlow Ridge Recycling Centre from April.

However there is still hope the site will remain open, as county councillor for The Risboroughs, Bill Bendyshe-Brown, is working with Bucks companies to investigate keeping the rubbish tip open as a commercial business.

If the new agreements detailing the operation of the recycling centre are approved, a new planning application will be drawn up to request permission for the site to run as a trade and commercial waste site, as well as a recycling centre.

However there are a few hurdles yet to clear, as it could take up to eight months for the council to make a final decision on the planning application – taking it beyond the centre’s closure date of April 1.

Cabinet member for planning and environment, Bill Chapple, is seeking legal advice on whether the site can remain open from April 1 to enable a commercial company to take over.

In a statement read out at this morning’s meeting, Cllr Bendyshe-Brown said: “As cabinet members will know , there is enormous local political pressure to keep Bledlow Household Recycling Centre open.

“Having had a petition of nearly 4,500 signatures to support this opposition for closure, I do urge cabinet and particularly both cabinet members for planning and environment and resources to support me on this new, novel and exciting proposal.”

During the meeting cabinet also approved plans to shut the Burnham centre from September 30 – however a final decision will be made at the beginning of September following a financial review.

Tips in Burnham, Chesham and Rabans Lane, Aylesbury, will be closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays, reducing opening hours from seven to five days a week from April.

Charges are also set to be enforced for the disposal of non-household rubbish, such as construction and demolition waste, including a £4 charge for the disposal of tyres and £6 per 25-litre bag of plasterboard.

Despite Cllr Chapple insisting the changes will not see an increase in fly-tipping, members raised concerns over the prevalence of illegally dumped waste in the county.

Deputy cabinet member for transport, Paul Irwin, said punishments for those guilty of fly-tipping are not harsh enough to deter others from the crime, while leader of the council, Martin Tett, said the issue must be monitored closely once the changes are enforced.

Cllr Chapple said the changes have been “very carefully considered” to ensure there is as little disruption for residents as possible – adding “this is not something I want to do, but I have to do”.

Cllr Tett added he has been dragged “kicking and screaming” towards the approval of the plans, but assured members all options have been investigated.

He said: “I have to say I have been dragged kicking and screaming to this. I absolutely did not want to see this happen.

“I am a regular user of our household waste sites, I have a loyalty card virtually for our household waste sites.

“They are a fantastic service we provide and we have a first class officer team.

“I am very reluctant to see any changes here, however I have to accept, with the finances the way they are in local government, we have to find a sustainable future for these sites.”

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