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Friday, June 5, 2020

End the row over Llan using Plas Madoc, says county councillor

* The Plas Madoc recycling site at the centre of the row.

The public row about Llangollen residents using the Plas Madoc Recycling Centre should now be closed.

That's the view of one of the area's county councillors, Graham Timms.

At the start of the Covid-19 lockdown the Saturday morning tipping facility on the Pavilion car park was withdrawn with local people being told they would have to use the Ruthin household waste site which is now operating an appointments only system.

As a result, a number of people have suggested they should use Plas Madoc instead.

Cllr Timms' predecessor at County Hall, Stuart Davies, argues that an agreement was struck between Wrexham Council and Denbighshire County Council back in 2007 - when the old town tip near Sun Bank closed - for Llangollen people to use Plas Madoc.   

Earlier this week Cllr Timms, along with Clwyd South Senedd Member Ken Skates, both agreed to check with the two councils to see if this was the case. 

Now Cllr Timms says in a statement to llanblogger: "Llangollen residents have been told that they cannot use this Wrexham site. Wrexham Council made this clear in a statement to BBC Radio Wales on Monday.

”A former county councillor has been claiming that he sorted this out in 2007, but the minutes produced from a meeting in 2007 merely said that any formal request would have to be agreed by Wrexham's Executive Board. 

"Denbighshire were informed at that time by Wrexham that if a formal approach for any such arrangement was made, it would be refused. 

"Looking back on what happened nearly 13 years ago is always difficult, but it is clear that no formal agreement was reached on behalf of Llangollen residents to use the Plas Madoc site."

Cllr Timms adds: "Cllr Melvyn Mile [the other Llangollen county councillor] and I have spent a long time looking into this and drawn a blank as far as any formal agreement is concerned. 

"Wrexham Council deny it. Denbighshire County Council deny it, and no payment is being made for such a service so let's move on.

“We must now turn our attention to getting the recycling service back to Llangollen Pavilion car park as soon as possible. 

"We've spoken loudly for Llangollen on this matter and will continue to put pressure on the county to restart the service as soon as possible. 

"We've made helpful suggestions, many passed on to us by residents.  

"A 30-mile round-trip to Ruthin Recycling Centre is not a realistic possibility for most people. But our wagons will not be back at the Pavilion until the health and safety of workers and residents can be guaranteed. 

"Our superb refuse and recycling service staff have been doing a great job collecting waste throughout the lockdown from our homes, but I don't think any of us want to see them exposed to a situation where their safety and ours would be even more at risk.

“The Ruthin Recycling Centre is the nearest Recycling Centre in Denbighshire and if you need to use this service you must book an appointment on the DCC website.

On Radio Wales on Monday, Wrexham Council said: "All our HWRC’s (Household Waste Recycling Centres) are busy and to allow residents from outside the county borough to utilise the sites in Wrexham would cause even more congestion than currently experienced and would put an unfair weighting onto Wrexham County Borough Council. 

"To open the HRWC sites was a major political and logistical exercise carried out solely for the benefit of the residents of the Borough.

"This service is very popular and one which our residents are entitled to and which they support through their Council Tax and as such we need to restrict it to Wrexham residents only. We have had people from many, many miles away trying to use these sites and we are unable to take on the waste responsibility of other local authorities so have put the controls in place to protect our interests.”

Ken Skates SM has received a reply from Wrexham Council officer Ian Bancroft which says: "I can confirm that there is no record of any formal agreement in our files from this time.

"Like most Welsh Authorities, including Denbighshire, we are currently adopting the standard guidance for opening and operating our HWRCs, we have adopted a 10 point plan (set of rules) and this includes a proof of residency check. Whilst the current lockdown conditions prevail and the demand at our sites has to be managed we are not planning to relax these for the foreseeable future.

"As I am sure you appreciate, moving ‘Denbighshire’ waste from residents into Wrexham’s facility would require a lot of profiling and monitoring on numerous items including:

  • Impact on waste volumes;
  • Capacity issues;
  • Managing, monitoring and adjustment of recycling rates, etc; 
  • Finance adjustments and cross boundary fee and income recharges. 
"Like yourself and colleagues in Denbighshire, we have received numerous correspondence on this topic over recent weeks and to date have responded based upon the above principles."

On Wednesday, Stuart Davies launched a poll on Facebook asking if people wanted to see the swift re-opening of the Saturday morning household waste facility at the Pavilion car park.

Up to yesterday, 277 people voted yes to this, while 108 were in favour of being able to use Plas Madoc. Another 24 wanted to see the old Llangollen tip brought back into use. 

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