A SPECIAL council meeting is to be held over controversial plans to close a York waste tip.

The Beckfield Lane recycling centre’s final day of operation is to be April 15, after it fell victim to City of York Council budget cuts.

The authority said the move would save £130,000 over two years and the site could be sold for housing, but more than 2,800 people signed a petition opposing the move and an extraordinary full council meeting will now be arranged to debate the issue.

A date has yet to be set for the meeting, although the council plans to hold it before the intended closure date.

A report by Roger Ranson, the council’s assistant director for highways, waste and fleet, said the centre was not fit for purpose or fully accessible and immediate basic maintenance would cost £250,000. He said about £2 million would need to be spent on redeveloping the site and relocating would cost about £3.6 million.

Mr Ranson’s report also said closing Beckfield Lane would reduce the choice of site for residents who would have longer journeys to another tip, but Beckfield Lane’s access problems meant the council could be open to legal action under the Equalities Act if it remained as it is.

Liberal Democrat councillor Ann Reid claimed the report was “skimpy on detail” and possible increases in fly-tipping through shutting Beckfield Lane had not been considered. She said: “There is a huge groundswell of opinion against closing the centre, and I feel the budget decision was made without all the relevant information.”

Council leader James Alexander said the special meeting would cost £500 and claimed opposition parties accepted Beckfield Lane would close, but wanted to debate a replacement.

He said: “The only way to pay for a replacement is further cuts or a higher council tax increase, and I don’t think residents will be happy at paying for this.”