PLANS to allow West Berkshire residents to take their rubbish to Padworth should have gone in sooner, West Berkshire Liberal Democrats have stated.
Veolia has submitted an application to change the use of the Padworth Recycling Centre to take general waste and extend the facility’s opening hours.
The plans are a result of the fallout from the cross-county ‘waste wars’, which saw West Berkshire residents banned from the Smallmead tip in Reading after the council pulled its funding to the cross-local authority partnership Re3.
The move has left residents in the east of the district with a round trip of up to 30 miles to dispose of their household waste at Newbury.
The council’s opposing Liberal Democrats have criticised the local authority for the amount of time it has taken for the Padworth Recycling Centre plans to go in.
Shadow member for environment and planning, Alan Macro (Theale), said: “It is likely to be March before the planning permission is granted.
“That will be almost a year after West Berkshire residents were stopped from using the Smallmead waste site in Reading.
“In the meantime, residents in places like Burghfield, Mortimer, Pangbourne, Purley, Theale and Tilehurst have to make round trips of up to 30 miles to take household waste to the waste site in Newbury.
“This not only hits residents in their pocket with extra fuel costs, but is damaging for the environment.
“This planning application should have been put in as soon as the council decided to stop paying for its residents to use the Smallmead site.
“This would have minimised the length of time that residents would have had to make such long trips to the waste site.
“This budget cut was another poorly thought-through proposal from this failing council.”
However, the council’s executive member for waste, Dominic Boeck (Con, Aldermaston), said the Lib Dems were being naive.
Mr Boeck said the council had tried to negotiate a compromise with Re3 to allow residents to use Smallmead, but was unable to reach an agreement.
“The next step was to look at how we could mitigate the affect on our residents and opened up discussions with Veolia,” he said.
“They had to be commercial discussions and it’s also worth noting that the application didn’t come from us, it came from Veolia because it’s their site.
“They weren’t going to put in an application until they were happy with the decision we reached with them. It went in as soon as it was possible and practical.
“It’s somewhat naive really.”