County councillors have voted to dump controversial plans to close four of Kent’s tips.
Conservative members rejected all closure options after months of public protest and fears of the political price they might pay at the next Kent County Council elections.
The proposal to shut four household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) was on the table as cash-strapped KCC attempted to find £1.5m in savings.
The plan to shut four of six Kent tips caused a backlash and prompted a planned consultation, due to start in the summer, to be put on hold. The HWRCs at risk were Faversham, Tovil (Maidstone), Deal, Richborough, Dartford and Swanley.
Conservative group members took the decision at a group meeting last week in a secret ballot in the council chamber at County Hall, Maidstone. The vote was 28-21 in favour of rejecting all the closure options formulated by Cllr Carey and her officers.
It will be seen as a significant victory for the scheme’s opponents who have vowed to remain “vigilant” against similar plans being reintroduced later.
there has been a major revolt by Tory backbenchers and opposition members against these ridiculous proposals
The cabinet member for the environment who was leading the closure plans, Cllr Susan Carey, resigned later that day. She has been unavailable for comment.
One Tory member said “The idea of closing the tips was always absolutely crackers – the public were never going to put up with that. Everyone knows that we are in dire financial straits as an authority but closing much appreciated amenities is not an option. Ahead of the 2025 election, it was politically suicidal. We know that we’re going to struggle at that election and shutting tips is not a way of shoring up the vote, is it?”
It’s always nice to know that councillors are voting with an eye on next year’s elections, rather than voting for the right reasons for the people they are supposed to represent!