NEWTOWN Parish Council has said it will escalate action to resolve cross-border waste wars to a national level, owing to a lack of transparency on the issue.
Villagers this week remained unable to access the nearest recycling centre, situated in Newtown Road, over the Hampshire/Berkshire border, after being excluded from a permit scheme at West Berkshire’s Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC), which was introduced four weeks ago.
This forces those nearest the county border to make a 15-mile trip to the Hampshire facility, at Wade Road, in Basingstoke, following the county council’s withdrawal of a £200,000 payment to West Berkshire Council in respect of Hampshire residents’ overall usage of the HWRCs.
Now, in a letter to Hampshire county councillor Tom Thacker (Con, Whitchurch and Clere), the deputy chairman of Newtown Parish Council, Tony Webb, pointed out a lack of transparency on the issue.
This was initially highlighted in the parish council’s written communication of July 8 to Rob Humby, Hampshire's executive member for environment and transport.
“The parishes have not been consulted about, nor indeed informed of, this decision,” said Mr Webb, pointing out no response had been received to this communication.
He said it was “perverse” that councils could not agree over common- sense usage of nearby facilities, regardless of county boundaries.
In addition, the parish council only had 24 hours notice of a county council meeting in Winchester, aimed at establishing approval for transitional arrangements with West Berkshire Council on the issue.
Last week, the MP for North West Hampshire, Kit Malthouse (Con), said North Hampshire villagers should expect temporary permits by Christmas, after a deal had been struck between the borough and district council's.
However, no date was announced for the issue of the passes, other than “around Christmas”, with no details of the cost to the county council.
“We would appear to have reached the end of the line in expecting procedural communication to achieve any results,” said Mr Webb, adding that alternative action, including at a national level, was planned by the parish council.
In a recent statement, Rob Humby, the county council's Executive Member for Environment and Transport , said:
"Over the past few months we have been working hard with other local authorities to progress a transitional arrangement for residents affected by the new permit system in West Berkshire, and have been keeping local county councillors, the district council and the local media informed of developments."
Meanwhile, fly-tipping has been taking place across the area. Terry Derrick photographed a dumped toilet between Ecchinswell and Kingsclere on October 9 and reported it to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, but it was still there a week later.
Do you have a story, or photograph, about fly-tipping in North Hampshire? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.