CAMPAIGNERS paraded outside the gates of a town centre recycling centre which has been targeted for closure by county council chiefs.

The protest on Saturday outside the gates of the Maryport Street car park facility came after hundreds of town households pledged their support to Usk Town Council (UTC) in its campaign to stop the closure.

Monmouthshire County Council announced its intention to close the site at the beginning of the year, but agreed to further consultation after protests from the town council.

The consultation did not take place before the Coronavirus lockdown, when the site was supposedly closed “temporarily” in line with government Covid 19 restrictions.

But while other recycling centres in the county, including Llanfoist, Caldicot and most recently Monmouth, have reopened, Usk is still closed, with a deadline of midday tomorrow (Wednesday, August 23) for townspeople to put their case before the county council makes a decision at the end of the month.

Usk Town Mayor Chris Wilkinson said: “In just a few days the town council was able to join forces with residents to form an action group called SURF – ‘Save Usk’s Recycle Facility’ – and we have received massive support from people in the town and the outlying villages, who have relied heavily on being able to take their recycling to the site.”

Saturday’s protest saw socially-distanced groups gather outside the centre and in the car park, bearing banners and placards urging Monmouthshire County Council (MCC) to retain the facility.

Along with an online petition, all households have been urged by SURF to send letters to MCC asking them to listen to UTC’s argument for keeping the centre.

“We’ve spoken to the county council, pointing out that once again, unlike the other main towns in Monmouthshire, Usk is going to lose one of the few benefits it has,” added Chris.

The main issues concerning residents are that nearly 2,000 households will now have to make a 20-mile round trip to sites in Llanfoist or Five Lanes (Caldicot), which makes “a mockery” of the county council’s commitment to supporting carbon reduction, and that consequently there will be an increase in fly tipping.

SURF member Jan Keelan said: “There is an ageing population in Usk and the surrounding villages, and many of the older residents are unable to drive to the other sites, meaning they will be unable to dispose of items that cannot be left for kerbside collections.”

SURF has already outlined ways in which MCC’s concerns for health and safety at the Usk site, and correct disposal of rubbish, can be overcome so that the facility can continue.

It says it hopes that MCC will recognise the strength of feeling from residents and take the appropriate steps to retain the site.

Residents wanting their voice to be heard over this matter have only one day left (deadline is tomorrow Wednesday, September 23) to download a standard letter from the SURF Facebook page and hand in their signed copy to the Sessions House.

They can also post it through the letterbox at 16, Castle Parade or 1, Ladyhill Close or Park View, Llantrisant or 4, New Market Street or Timberlands, 100 Maryport Street or email UTC at [email protected]