THE chairmen of 12 West Somerset parish councils representing 11,000 residents have written a joint letter of protest to Somerset Council’s Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Bill Revans over his plans to close a recycling centre in Williton.

Headed up by Williton Parish Council chairman Cllr Peter Payne, they expressed ‘condemnation’ of the plan on behalf of the residents, who all lived within an eight-mile radius of the village.

They said the decision was ‘illogical from an economic, geographical location, facility design, and a capability’ point of view.

The chairmen pointed out more than 1,000 new homes were planned for Williton and Watchet in the near future, putting more pressure on road infrastructure and making the recycling facility more strategically important.

Somerset Council, which sets its 2024-25 budget on Tuesday (February 20), said it needs to close recycling centres in Williton and Dulverton and three other towns as it struggles to avoid bankruptcy and bridge a £100 million budget gap.

The joint letter follows a public meeting in the village last month attended by more than 200 people.

The parish chairmen said: “Everyone in the room, except for your representatives, expressed their anger and disbelief that the future of the recycling facility was threatened.

“What quickly became obvious was the apparent lack of any reliable research or due diligence carried out by Somerset Council before it submitted its intention to propose the closure.

“We were not presented with any financial arguments, no cost benefit analysis, or a statement setting out the detailed savings alongside the collateral additional costs that would be incurred by closing the facility.

“The environment seemed to be forgotten or ignored, and when questions were asked about what the carbon impact of closure would be, there were blank faces.

“The meeting had every right to expect that a Liberal Democrat-led council, supposedly proud of its environmental credentials, notwithstanding financial funding from central Government, would be investing in future proofing the responsible processing of waste rather than proposing a blatant contradiction of their own principles.

“West Somerset desperately requires bigger and better recycling facilities, not closures and reductions.”