Surrey County Council is proposing further cuts to the service provided by the Community Recycling Centres (CRCs) known as dumps or tips.
The planned cuts involve closing all Surrey CRCs on two days a week, permanently shutting four centres (Bagshot, Cranleigh, Dorking and Warlingham), scrapping the free daily allowance of one bag of non-household rubbish and making anyone visiting the Farnham and Camberley centres prove that they live in Surrey.
In addition, anyone driving a van, trailer or pick-up truck will have to use larger CRCs only.
The council is currently consulting the public on the proposals and has published a questionnaire for the public to complete which is available on surreycc.gov.uk/recyclingcentres or by calling 03456 009 009 or texting 07860 053 465. This should be completed by August 7.
The council says that changes are being proposed in order to save money because of “continued cuts to funding, rising costs and increasing demand for key services” which mean that the council must make savings of more than £100m this year.
In 2002, Waverley Borough Council prepared a Development Brief, setting out what should be provided to the people of Farnham through redevelopment of the area south of East Street, around Brightwell House. The redevelopment required Brightwell Gardens to be retained as a public space, along with the bowling green and clubhouse. A new Gostrey Centre was to be provided within the development, close to its current town centre location. The scheme was to include a mix of housing, comprising privately owned flats together with social rented and affordable housing. The brief required limited commercial space to be included within the redevelopment. In the Farnham Herald of 12 December 2003, it was announced that the developers, Crest Nicholson Sainsbury (CNS), were to pay Waverley £20 million for the land under the scheme proposed at the time, and Waverley did not deny or challenge this. However, the scheme has been changed progressively over the years, to the economic benefit of the developer and to the detriment of Farnham. The scheme was subsequently reduced in scope, the Bowling Green was removed and the clubhouse marked for demolition. CNS were to be allowed to build over these sites, as well as part of the Brightwell Gardens. A development agreement with CNS in 2009 gave a land value of £8.76 million. These changes in combination offered substantial economic benefit to CNS. The loss of public amenities and the reduced payment from the CNS are to the detriment of the people in the Farnham area. Further changes to the plan, approved by Waverley on 24 May 2016, relocated the Gostrey Centre to the Memorial Hall, thus moving it out of the town centre where it is needed by those who use it. The changes also removed the social rented and affordable housing (which made up 30% of the housing) replacing it with shared ownership housing, to the disadvantage of those on lower incomes and on the housing waiting lists. In addition to this, the Land Value was reduced to £3.19M. Once again, the changes are intended to benefit CNS to the detriment of Farnham. Unable to obtain funding from commercial lenders – who, it must be assumed, considered the scheme too risky – Waverley has now obtained funding from Surrey County Council, thus putting taxpayers’ (i.e. our) money at risk.