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St Davids waste recycling centre will remain open for 2024/25

The St Davids recycling centre has gained a 12-month reprieve (Inset: Cllrs Bethan Price, Mark Carter and Neil Prior, Pic: Google/Pembrokeshire County Council)

A PEMBROKESHIRE waste recycling centre, at fear of closure as part of potential budget cost savings, has gained an eleventh-hour breathing space.

Pembrokeshire is currently facing a projected funding gap of £31.9m in setting this year’s budget, with a council tax increase of 16.3 per cent, along with cuts in services to balance the books, proposed by senior councillors ahead of the March 7 meeting of full council.

The actual decision on the 2024-’25 budget – and associated council tax rate and budget savings – will be decided by full council at that meeting.

The 16.3 per cent rate was backed by members of the county council’s Cabinet earlier this month, with members receiving a raft of potential costs savings to the council, including a ‘red’ less-favoured option to close St Davids waste recycling centre, netting some £25,000, and later £60,000 due to associated fixed costs.

The fear of a potential closure has led to a change.org petition calling for it to remain open, started by Richard Davies, which has attracted more than 1,600 signatures to date.

The potential closure was expected to be part of the council’s 2024-’25 budget at the March 7 meeting, with a pre-submitted question on the subject by Councillor Alan Dennison included in that meeting’s agenda.

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Since the agenda was published, local councillors have been informed the centre will now have a 12-month breathing space.

In a letter sent to local county councillors, confirmed by the local authority, Cllr Rhys Sinnett, Cabinet Member for Residents Services said: “As you will know, all service areas in the authority were required to come forward with a list of possible proposals to save money in order to meet the unprecedented financial challenge facing the council and for the Infrastructure and Environment Directorate, this was one of those identified.

“It is my proposal that this item is given further consideration before being brought back to Cabinet later this year.

“In practical terms, this means that we will continue to operate the WRC at St David’s for the year 2024/5 whilst examination of future options takes place, but I do need to stress that we need to work proactively with the community and city council to find a sustainable model going forward or the facility will remain at risk.”

Cllr Sinnett thanked councillors Bethan Price, Mark Carter and Neil Prior for their “strong advocacy” in calling for the centre to remain open.

Announcing the reprieve, Cllr Price said: “I would like to announce to you all that it has ‘just’ been saved for another year 24/25. I have to emphasise the word ‘just’ as there is a lot of work to be done to secure the future of this site,

But for now, I am over the moon and delighted with this outcome, our voices have been heard and we have a long way to go.

“Moving forward Cllr Sinnett stressed strongly that we need to work proactively with the community and city council to find a sustainable model going forward or the facility will remain at risk.”

Neighbouring Ceredigion County Council, which set its budget on February 29, is facing the potential closure of one of its four waste recycling centres.

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