Opening hours at the Cupar centre have been cut to just two days a week for members of the public, and it has been the subject of concern from local residents and Cupar Conservative councillor Tony Miklinski for several months.
Cupar Community Council discussed the situation at its meeting this week, and Mr Miklinski has once more hit out at the local authority for restricting access and demanded Cupar’s centre be opened immediately for at least four days a week pending a longer-term solution.
“Councillor Ross Vettraino, convenor of the Fife Council committee that runs waste management, told the Cupar Community Council this week that ‘Ladybank is only five miles away and you can use their recycle centre if the Cupar Centre is shut, and you’re lucky to have that choice’,” Mr Miklinski claimed.
“And there were a number of other comments at the meeting that show the thinking behind Councillor Vettraino’s decision to slash opening hours by 75%, from seven days a week to two.
“Under pressure from community councillors, he variously claimed that ‘two days a week is enough to satisfy demand in Cupar’ and ‘I don’t have the resources to keep Cupar open because the site is too small and inefficient’.
“That’s not good enough for me.
““I told him that Cupar is a major community in Fife that needs and deserves its own recycing centre seven days a week.
“Councillor Vettraino is able to find resources to keep most of the other Fife recycle centres open every day and Cupar is being singled out and disadvantaged.
“I demanded that the opening times be expanded to four days a week immediately, with a longer term solution to create a new, bigger centre once a suitable site is found.
“The bottom line is that recycle centres form a key part of the green infrastructure and Cupar is a major settlement in North East Fife with a big catchment area, about to get much bigger.”
In turn, Councillor Vettraino, convener of Fife Council’s environment, protective services and community safety sub committee, has defended the approach being taken.
And he added: “These are the sort of comments that one would expect from someone who doesn’t understand the challenges with which local authorities are currently faced.
“The opening days and times of the 11 recycling centres in Fife, which incidentally is probably the best network of recycling centres in the country, have been arrived at having regard to the demand on each centre and the availability of staff and vehicle resources.
“The community in the Cupar area is indeed fortunate to have two recycling centres within reasonable distance.
“I am sure that the communities in Tayport or Newport or Newburgh, for example, would welcome having a recycling centre which is open seven days a week only five miles away, with another on their doorstep, which is open two days per week.
“As far as deciding to slash opening hours is concerned, it is the case that individual members of the council do not have the authority to make policy decisions on their own.
“Consequently, it would also appear that Councillor Miklinski doesn’t understand the Council’s governance process.
“The footprint of the Centre at Cupar is too small to permit the use of compacting equipment.
“Consequently, the containers at Cupar must be emptied three or four times more often than at any other recycling centre, so Councillor Miklinski is correct when he says that Cupar is more demanding on vehicle and staff resources than any other centre in Fife.
“It would be good if Cupar had its own recycling centre open seven days per week, and every other town in Fife as well, including those that have bigger catchment areas than Cupar, but that just isn’t possible.”
As far as a long-term solution is concerned, Mr Vettraino revealed the council’s estates resource is “actively looking” for a suitable alternative site.
“I agree that recycling centres are an important part of the green infrastructure and, in that regard, in addition to the recycling centre, there are two recycling points in Cupar which are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and at which materials, other than garden waste, and electrical goods can be recycled,” he continued.
“Having mentioned the green agenda, I want to say, as from this week, householders in Fife will be able to recycle soft plastics such as plastic film and plastic via their green bin and will be the first in Scotland to be able to do so.”