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Plans for Mid Wales recycling centre not supported by council

By Jonny Drury | Mid Wales | News | Published:

Controversial plans to build a waste recycling facility in Abermule has not been supported by Powys County Council's full council at its latest meeting.

But the paper that went before councillors on Friday, setting out the next steps, will go back before the cabinet in the coming months.

The plans, which villagers have objected to, have caused much controversy.

After a public meeting an action group put potential new sites to the council for them to reconsider, however a paper went to council on Friday to explain why the sites will not be used, and why the council wants to press on with the Abermule proposals.

It was due to be a read only and be noted report, but an amendment was put forward for the full council not to support the Abermule plans, which received support with eight votes for, seven against and six abstaining.

Now a report will go back before the cabinet in the coming months.

Concerns

The in-depth report that went before the council which explains why Abermule is the only acceptable site for the facility has been highly critical of the protestors.

Having seen the report ACT chairman, Jeff Mathews, has spoken to the Local Democracy Service about the villagers’ concerns: “We were expecting a report from the officers and portfolio holder as a result of our meeting on March 28.

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“We made several proposals which have not been addressed.”

Mr Mathews and ACT believe the decision to build the facility had actually been made by PCC several years ago.

Downgrading the prestige enterprise park to be able to take recycling facilities is believed to have been the start of the process, then finding the money for the project and getting planning permission.

Disappointment that Abermule Community Council did not forcibly object to the plans has been expressed.

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Mr Mathews added: “Not opposing the plan swayed the planning committee.”

He said that the first meeting in January was unproductive.

Funding

“We agreed to try again at a later date but our questions about alternative sites and funding were rebuffed.

“At the March 28 meeting, with Assembly Members Helen Mary Jones and Russell George, clearly suggested that the Welsh Government might provide further funding options to buy an alternative site if necessary – but PCC would need to ask.

“The request could not come from the AMs. They would then lobby for the funds. However PCC made it plain that they didn’t want to do that.”

On criticisms of ACT by PCC in the report, Mr Mathews added: “PCC seems to blame ACT for inaccuracies on Facebook, we are not in control of all comments.

Disappointed

“There is bound to be incorrect information as information from PCC from the beginning has been scant and guarded.

“We are again being accused of scaremongering but in the report PCC admits there will always be concerns from the public.

“Why didn’t they address these concerns three years ago? With Abermule they said – let’s just build it anyway! We are most disappointed.”

Council officers have stressed that the facility would help the authority deal with hitting Welsh Government recycling targets of 70 per cent by 2024/25.

They believe the recycling bulking facility is “essential to maximise the efficiency” of the collection vehicles and is: “ideally located between the two main population centres of north Powys.”

Jonny Drury

By Jonny Drury
@JonnyDrury_Star

Senior reporter covering Oswestry and Mid Wales.

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