By Chris Sloley
North Devon council has completed a “large and challenging” project to relocate the headquarters of its recycling operations to a purpose-built £7.5 million site on the outskirts of Barnstaple, the local authority has announced.The local authority moved its works and recycling service this week (June 28) to the 11-acre Brynsworthy Environment Centre – which is an old meat processing plant on the B3232 road between Barnstaple and Torrington – in a move intended to coincide with its plans to introduce food waste collections later this year.
The centre is intended to be used as headquarters for the council's works and recycling services but to also serve as a bulking depot for dry recyclable material collected by the council, as well as including an education and visitors' centre.
Commenting on the move, councillor Richard Edgell, lead member for assets, said: “This has been a large and challenging project for our team and we now have a superb facility that will benefit not only our service operations but also provides the community with a valuable resource.
“I am confident that the council's major investment to create this outstanding 21st century asset will enable us to provide excellent services for several decades to come.”
However, a spokeswoman for the council told letsrecycle.com that the site had experienced delays due to the need to build a new road around the site.
She said: “The issue was that we didn't have a sufficient contingency for the problem that we found that related to the construction of a new road and the size of the project also grew over the duration of the development. It went from moving the works and recycling to including a visitors centre and education hub.”
The spokeswoman said that the delay had caused an overspend of “under £1 million”, which was taken into account when the project budget was revised in March 2010.
The Brynsworthy Environment Centre is intended to help boost recycling performance in the local authority. It includes a viewing platform and an education centre to allow school and community group visits.
The design of the facility aims to make its operations as sustainable as possible through the use of natural daylight in the recycling areas and water harvesting, in order to reduce water requirements for lorry washing on the site.
Councillor Paul Yabsley, lead member for works and recycling at North Devon council, said: “We believe this new site will be hugely beneficial all round. The development of the Brynsworthy site has cost the council less than the value which has been released from the old site at Seven Brethren Bank by about £1.5 million.
“The relocation will also enable a new access road to be built from Station Road into Seven Brethren Bank. Again, this should be welcome news, as it will provide opportunities for wider regeneration of the Seven Brethren area.”
Staff from the council's works and recycling service are the first to move into the new Brynsworthy Environment Centre, with up to 100 other council staff are likely to relocate to the site in the autumn. An official opening is also being planned for later in the year, with North Devon set to release more information closer to the time.
North Devon announced in March that it would be working with Mid Devon district council to share the work of Gary Piling as joint waste management manager for the two local authorities in order to cut costs (see letsrecycle.com story).