Monifieth residents who turned out in force to fight for the retention of the local recycling centre have been given little reassurance that the battle has not already been lost.
During two hours of impassioned debate at a hastily-organised public meeting just weeks before a decision on the reshaping of recycling provision is due to be taken, Angus Council leader Bob Myles was forced to admit the group set up to examine a possible U-turn of the controversial closure proposal for the facility was bereft of alternative options and facing a race against time.
A meeting of the full Angus Council early next month is due to consider the way forward for Monifieth, Forfar and Kirriemuir after the new multi-party administration elected in May vowed to look again at the decision of its SNP predecessors to shut the coastal facility and establish a supersite for the two inland towns.
Mr Myles had vowed to “leave no stone unturned” in the quest for alternatives, but he came under fire from the packed community cabin meeting as residents took it in turn to swamp him with their belief that the closure decision is already a fait accompli.
The council says it will save £100,000 by axeing Monifieth, leaving residents with the option of travelling to recycling centres in Dundee or Carnoustie.
Monifieth Community Council organised the meeting, which attracted almost 100 people – another forum is scheduled for Kirriemuir town hall the evening before the council is due to decide the way forward – and chairwoman Sheena Cochrane said the mood was that Monifieth was very much the forgotten burgh of Angus.
She told the council leader: “We feel passionately about this. You say you do not want to pit burgh against burgh in the provision of facilities but that’s exactly what you are doing.
“We all get it – money is tight – but Monifieth and Sidlaw as a ward brings in a high proportion of council tax in Angus, so why is it that you always leave Monifieth out?
“We know what we are putting into Angus Council and we know what we are getting out – and it is not enough.”
The meeting made a desperate plea for councillors to defer a decision on the centre closure when they meet on September 7, but the council leader left little hope that there will be stay of execution.
“If a difficult decision has to be made, the quicker the better,” he said.
“Monifieth is a cash cow”
The meeting was later discussed on the Our Monifieth Facebook forum, with commenters agreeing that it appears the closure decision is already set in stone.
Dave Burness said: “The huge turnout showed the strength of feeling in the town against the proposed closure.
“There were very many excellent comments and questions put to the council officers but I came away from the meeting feeling that all tonight’s protestations will make not the slightest difference to the outcome.”
Mary McFarlane added: “I was there and agree wholeheartedly with this.
“Disgraceful to come and ask for suggestions when in fact they are going to recommend closure.
“Some very good points were made which never got answered.
“I would go so far to say Monifieth is a cash cow for the council to milk.”