Protesters pack hall and force a lockout

ALMOST 700 angry residents turned up for a public meeting called to fight the closure of a tip on the border of Ossett and Dewsbury.
Officials at Ossett Town Hall had to lock the doors when the 500 capacity was reached inside.
Under pressure from those outside, the first meeting had to be cut short and a second meeting held straight afterwards for those locked out.
Mrs Angela Taylor, who organised the meeting, said she was stunned at the turnout and strength of feeling.
“My worst fear was that only 50 people would turn up but the hall was packed,” she said.
“The meeting may have been a little chaotic at times but that’s because people’s feelings were running so high. People were just incensed.”
Mrs Taylor, who paid the £144 bill for the hire of the Town Hall herself, launched her campaign to keep the Ossett Household Waste Recycling Centre open.
The site, known locally as Owl Lane tip, is run by Wakefield Council and is next to Dewsbury Rams’ Tetley’s Stadium.
Mrs Taylor launched a petition to keep the tip open and so far more than 2,500 people have signed it.
The campaign took a new twist when Wakefield Council revealed they wanted the tip to become a gipsy site when it closed in 2012.
Mrs Taylor, 63, who has lived in Ossett for 37 years, said all she was concerned about was keeping the tip open.
Wakefield Council is about to sign a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract with giant support services company Babcock International to run its waste management service.
That means reducing its current seven tip sites down to just four.
The meeting was told the four sites would be at Normanton, Glasshoughton, South Kirkby and Denby Dale Road in Wakefield.
Mrs Taylor said noone in Ossett wanted the tip to close. She said there were always queues at Denby Dale Road and people from Ossett would face a 12mile round trip.
“Wakefield Council are encouraging people to increase their carbon footprint and we know that from standing outside the tip people make four or five trips with rubbish.
“When the tip is closed on a Wednesday people dump rubbish outside the gates. Closing the tip will just encourage flytipping.”
Council officials on stage at the meeting included deputy council leader Coun Denise Jeffery, John Nortcliffe, the council’s waste PFI manager, and Neville Ford, who was in charge of the council’s Local Development Framework (LDF) project.
Speakers told the meeting the former landfill site had a methane problem; that Wakefield Council already had a big gipsy site at Heath Common; and that schools in Ossett and Gawthorpe were already oversubscribed.
One angry woman rushed to the stage to confront Coun Jeffery and said: “Would you like a gipsy site where you live, Mrs Jeffery?” Coun Jeffery’s reply was drowned out amid the cheers.
Mr Nortcliffe said the council had consulted the public before deciding which tips to close.
He said the four new sites would be “tailormade for the 21st century” and there would be no queuing onto Denby Dale Road.
He added: “Ossett was only a temporary site and was always going to close. It should have closed years ago.”
On the gipsy site plan, the council maintained that it was a Government requirement that all councils should provide sites for travellers.
Mr Ford said: “The Government is thinking of revoking that circular but at the moment you are required to make provision.
“Clearly this is contentious but we have produced a document out for consultation.
“No decisions have been taken. Clearly we need to take account of local residents’ views.”
Amid angry scenes, Coun Jeffery repeated: “No decision has been taken. We have come here to listen and I can see nobody wants it.”
Other people raised concerns over a rise in crime if gipsies moved in and there were calls for Wakefield and Kirklees councils to ‘share’ Owl Lane tip.
Mrs Taylor this week told The Press few observers had seen such an angry meeting.
“I think a lot of it is due to Ossett people feeling neglected by Wakefield Council,” she said.
“One of the issues that kept being raised was the swimming pool which was promised for Ossett 30 years ago. We are still waiting.
“I don’t think people have had chance to air their views like this before.”

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