Posted: 08.04.21 at 11:54 by Tim Taylor
Leading Conservatives from Alsager and Macclesfield have welcomed a message of support from MP Fiona Bruce with five days to go until the expected announcement by Cheshire East Council that they will close Congleton’s tip in September.
As part of the responses, an accusation of electioneering was directed at one of the Cabinet members who will make the decision during Tuesday’s CEC Cabinet meeting, Bollington councillor Amanda Stott.
Mrs Bruce is the MP for Congleton, her constituency includes Alsager, and her statement makes it clear she has concern for all three towns when the council lease expires on Congleton’s Household Waste and Recycling Centre.
The closure impacts on a total of more than 90,000 people affecting residents in Alsager and Macclesfield as well as Congleton.
Mrs Bruce said: "I am strongly supporting the campaign to keep Congleton Household Waste and Recycling Centre open.
“There are certain basic services which people in any community should reasonably expect and a convenient, safe, and local facility for the disposal of their household refuse is one of them.
“I am particularly concerned about the additional pressure that could be put on services elsewhere such as Alsager and Macclesfield.”
Alsager Town Councillor Sue Helliwell, vice-chair of Alsager-Odd Rode Conservatives, said: “Cheshire East Council have an appalling record in prosecuting fly-tippers – or rather hardly ever prosecuting them – which is typical of their haphazard administration.
“In Alsager we are already right in the firing line over this issue because there was an 111% increase in fly-tipping in our town between 2019 and 2020.
“Also, our tip already has significant greater queues on a regular basis causing a serious impact on both ways of traffic.
“The queues forming on Hassall Road frequently create significant disruption to traffic."
Cllr Helliwell continued: “Congleton is a large town, and it is about to grow even bigger. Losing its tip will have a dreadful impact on our quality of life in Alsager, Odd Rode and the surrounding villages, both through the increase in use of our tip and the increase in fly-tipping.
“It’s staggering the closure of Congleton’s tip is even being considered, let alone highly likely to happen.
"This Labour and Independent coalition is not listening to the concerns of their residents.”
The ten members of Cheshire East Council’s Cabinet meet on Tuesday.
There is an item on the agenda expressly worded to “not replace” the Congleton tip when the lease expires and next to no doubt it will be agreed.
“It is frustrating talking to people who refuse to listen,” added Cllr Helliwell.
“Which makes the explicit support of Fiona Bruce for Alsager all the more welcome.”
Beverley Dooley, chair of Macclesfield Conservative Association, agreed, saying: “What is happening in Congleton is going to have a detrimental effect on Macclesfield.
“It is reassuring to receive confirmation Westminster is sympathetic to our plight when we are faced with similar public health and traffic problems to Alsager and Congleton concerning the tip closure.
“That is genuine big picture politics, a world apart from the petty and politicised attitude of the Labour and Independent administration at Cheshire East Council.
“For example, the council have argued people will have to travel further when tips close – and in the long run they want it to be tips plural rather than Congleton alone.
“Their argument has been this will reduce the number of trips when their nearest tip will be further away.
"How absurd is that? Does waste vanish into thin air?”
Mrs Dooley accused Cllr Stott, of using the tip closure as an electioneering tool ahead of two Bollington By Elections on May 6.
“She has had nothing to say on the subject of the tip closure”, said Mrs Dooley.
“She is hiding behind a wall of silence. The supporting documentation being presented to Cabinet on Tuesday outlines four scenarios.
“Whichever scenario is adopted, a minimum of two recycling centres will close. Originally it was to be Poynton and Congleton.
“Thankfully Poynton has for now, been thrown a lifeline. But in order to realise the necessary medium-term financial savings, more than one site will close.
“To close Bollington is the most financially logical option as it can served by two sites, Macclesfield and Poynton.
"Will Amanda Stott acknowledge that this side of an election?"
Mrs Dooley added: “I suspect this particular decision will be deferred on Tuesday because given 2023 is the year of the main election, delaying it as long as possible helps Amanda Stott and her partner James Nicolas if they intend to defend their seats in Bollington in that year.
“Why are the Cabinet not being more open and transparent? Given Cllr Stott is the Cabinet member responsible for finance, surely, she should the first to explain to the 90,000 plus residents of three towns what on earth is going on.
“It is also only right and proper we should hear some explanations from Nick Mannion, the portfolio holder for Environment and Regeneration.
“How can these Cabinet members think they can get away with saying nothing?
"Do they think they are above being held to account for their actions?”
Cllr Stott said: "We haven’t made any comment as we are in a period of purdah, and would remind any elected members who have contributed to this Conservative press release. This press release is blatantly electioneering!
"With regards to the by-election in Bollington, Bollington First is not fielding any candidates.
"With regards to the Cabinet decision, I wouldn’t wish to comment on a decision which is yet to be made, as this would be predetermination."
A council spokesperson said: “A report on the provision of Household Waste Recycling Centres in Cheshire East will be considered by cabinet at a meeting on Tuesday 13 April.
"The report includes a number of recommendations, which will be considered by councillors before any formal decision is made."