THE future of Saturday morning waste collections in South Holland’s outlying towns and villages could hang in the balance after £40,000 funding was scrapped.
South Holland District Council has said it has not yet been informed that the money from Lincolnshire County Council will be stopped from the end of March following its decision to change its guidelines over household waste recycling centres, but it is feared the decision will mean the district council will no longer to be able to afford to provide skips in Donington, Holbeach, Crowland, Gedney Hill, Long Sutton and Sutton Bridge.
The district council had been receiving the money – £40,284 in the current financial year – to provide services to homes which fell outside of the county council’s own target of having 90 per cent of homes within seven miles of a recycling centre.
It had hoped to build a new facility in Long Sutton to achieve that target, but last week the cash-strapped council’s executive acknowledged that the cash is not available to build it in the current financial climate and took the decision to scale down its ambition and settle for having 95 per cent of homes within 12 miles of a centre.
The council claims Long Sutton now falls within its 12 mile target and as a result the supplementary payments will stop.
However, calculations by the Lincolnshire Free Press using Google maps show that although Long Sutton is only just over ten miles from Spalding’s West Marsh Road recycling centre as the crow flies, it is more than 13 miles by road.
Other villages are even further away.
South Holland ward councillor for Long Sutton, David Wilkinson, said he was very unhappy and disappointed by the decision, which he said would almost certainly result in the loss of the Saturday morning skips services, which are well used by residents in Long Sutton and Sutton Bridge.
He said: “It’s a very negative step as if these skips are lost I am sure it will mean about 200 more cars a week on the road as responsible people take their rubbish to Spalding and more fly-tipping by less responsible people – saving £40,000 will probably cost £50,000 in cleaning it up.
“We are always harping on about the importance of recycling but we need to encourage people and this is definitely not going down the route of encouraging people, as we need to provide the facilities for them to use.
“Times are tight for everyone and at the district council we have had to take some difficult decisions to ensure we can maintain services to the public, but then we get the county council appearing to do the opposite.
“It always seems to be able to find money for non-essential things, like putting £750,000 into the eco-offices in Long Sutton, but then can’t find the money for the essential services, such as this and the Chappell Centre for example.
“It seems to have its priorities wrong.”