CHESHIRE East must find alternative provision after it ‘mothballs’ Middlewich tip because if it does re-open it won’t be soon as it would cost millions to upgrade, a councillor said.

The council stressed in January the three tips earmarked for closure from April 1 – Middlewich, Poynton and Bollington – would be ‘mothballed’ rather than permanently shut.

Ralph Kemp, head of environmental services, said at the time: “It’s not saying we couldn’t re-open them in the future once we’ve had a formal procurement or a formal decision agreed, it’s just recognising the financial position the committee and the council’s in.”

But Cllr Carol Bulman (Lab), who represents Middlewich on Cheshire East, has written to the town council saying it would cost at least £3m to upgrade the town’s site.

Northwich Guardian: Cllr Carol BulmanCllr Carol Bulman (Image: Cheshire East Council)

This week Cllr Bulman told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “Viable alternatives need to be explored.

“I would be looking for an arrangement with Cheshire West and Cheshire to use the Kinderton facility in Winsford until local authority finances improve.”

Cash-strapped Cheshire East voted through the three ‘emergency’ tip closures at its budget meeting last month to save an estimated £750,000 in the coming 2024/25 financial year.

Councillors were told a final decision on the future of all tips is expected in September, once the formal review of household waste recycling centres across the whole borough has been completed.

But despite the use of the term ‘mothballing’ rather than closure, a permanent closure of up to three sites hasn’t been ruled out.

Northwich Guardian: Cllr Mick WarrenCllr Mick Warren (Image: Cheshire East Council)

At a meeting of the environment and communities committee in September, chair Mick Warren (Ind) told councillors he suspected keeping just four sites open - Crewe, Macclesfield, Alsager and Knutsford - would be the only option that comes back [from the review] within budget.