TENSIONS are continuing to mount over a council's decision to keep the nearest recycling centre to Harwich closed until further notice.

More than a dozen tips across Essex were re-opened by Essex County Council (ECC) last month, but Dovercourt Recycling Centre was not included in the re-opening list.

At present, the nearest useable tip is an hour's round trip to Clacton.

With no indication as to when the tip will re-open Maria Fowler, shadow to the portfolio holder for the environment at Tendring Council, has written a letter to Michael Talbot, portfolio holder for environment at Tendring Council, on the matter.

She has claimed many councillors are "wholly unimpressed" by ECC's decision not to re-open Dovercourt Recycling Centre.

The letter was sent after Mr Talbot was quoted in the Standard saying Tendring Council wholly supports ECC's decision to keep the recycling centre closed until further notice.

Mrs Fowler's letter read: "May I ask when Tendring Council took the decision to ‘wholly support’ ECC on this matter and, if I am correct in believing that no such decision has been taken, what authority you have to speak on behalf of the council?

"May I also ask what evidence you have to support your statement that ‘the vast majority of households are having no problems’?"

It added: "The Labour Group is extremely grateful for the efforts of officers and contractors who are doing everything possible to provide a service under very challenging conditions.

"We believe, however, that the actions of ECC in keeping sites closed is making their task unnecessarily difficult and, as the portfolio holder, we believe that you should be supporting your officers and contractors by joining us in trying to persuade ECC to see reason and to reopen all of its sites."

In response to the letter, Mr Talbot urged Mrs Fowler to channel her complaint to ECC and raise her "justified" concerns to a county councillor.

He said: "The statement was made by me in my role as portfolio holder speaking on behalf of Tendring and responding to questions about the Government caution to all Authorities to restrict or close operations which might lead to the transmission of a deadly virus from one person to another.

"When asked to comment I said I fully supported the county council's effort to avoid the Covid-19 virus, a comment I am fully entitled to make.

"You say that many councillors from across the political spectrum are 'wholly unimpressed' by ECC's decision.

"That may be so but as I suggested above this must questioned with ECC."

He said if Mrs Fowler becomes the portfolio holder, she will find she has to make relevant decisions herself, with the advice of officers professionally qualified to give that advice.

Mr Talbot added: "You will be quite unable to hold a plebiscite to guide your every decision."