Bid to earmark Abermule waste site cash shelved

Abermule villagers protest outside Powys County Hall in Llandrindod Wells in January 2019 Image copyright LDRS
Image caption Opponents once again staged a protest outside County Hall in Llandrindod Wells

Villagers hope to thwart council plans to build a waste recycling centre in their community after a move to earmark £2.7m for the project was withdrawn.

More than 30 protesters from Abermule staged a picket at County Hall as Powys County Council discussed the scheme.

A move to roll the money over to the new financial year starting in April was dropped in the face of opposition.

A fresh attempt to earmark the cash will stress it can be used for other locations suggested by campaigners.

The facility will handle domestic recycling of items such as glass, cans and food waste.

But residents fear an increase in traffic and noise will spoil the area, and the scheme won planning approval in August by just one vote.

Campaigners from Abermule Communities Together (ACT) had been promised by council leaders at a public meeting in December they would have an opportunity to suggest a different site.

But when council leaders tried on Thursday to move the money for the project to the next financial year - a move known as a virement - backbench councillors challenged the wording.

Gareth Pugh, a Conservative member whose ward includes Abermule, asked if the rollover was for highways and recycling generally or specifically for a waste centre at Abermule.

He said if it was for the service "then I could support it - if it's for Abermule, then I can't".

Liberal Democrat Gareth Ratcliffe added that people were "distressed at the way this is being handled" after promises had been made to consider other sites.

Cabinet member Phyl Davies agreed to postpone the motion and redraft it for the next full council meeting "seeing as there is so much confusion".

A spokesman for ACT said campaigners hoped the new motion would be "titled correctly, to make sure the money is portable and can be used at one of the other locations we have identified".

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