OTLEY'S public tip could close as part of a major cost-cutting drive by Leeds City Council.

The authority is proposing to shut down Ellar Ghyll waste and recycling centre as part of a plan that would also see Yeadon Tarn Sailing & Activity Centre close.

Also included in the plans, which will be discussed by the Executive Board on Wednesday, October 21, is a proposal to end the council's financial support for Chippindale Pool in Otley.

The cuts are part of an action plan that has been drawn up to help the council meet a £118.8 million shortfall ‌in its budget for 2021/22. But local politicians are vowing to fight the proposals.

Councillor Sandy Lay (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon) said: "This will cause real anger in Otley and Yeadon as the Labour-run council seems to have picked out our communities to hit hard.

"I will be looking to work with our Labour MP who I know our communities will expect to be just as outraged as I and they are. There has to be a better way than this that shares the pain and difficult choices across the city.

"We will fight these drastic proposals because cutting these services will only increase fly-tipping, deny generations of young people the opportunity to explore the world of sailing and, if and when Chippindale Pool closes, where will our young students in primary schools learn to swim?"

The report says that the closure of Ellar Ghyll would save £110,000 in 2021/22 and see the affected staff 'redeployed to vacancies on other sites or elsewhere'. The closure of the sailing centre at Yeadon would lead to savings of £88,000 while the withdrawal of support to Chippindale Pool is expected to save £37,000 'plus £50,000 in other service areas'.

Leeds City Council is stressing, however, that nothing has been decided yet and that all the proposals will be subject to consultation. Council leader Councillor Judith Blake said: "The pandemic has had a huge impact on the council’s budget for 2021/22. The stark reality of the situation is set out in the proposals detailed in this executive board report where we have had to take some incredibly tough decisions."

MP Alex Sobel (Lab, Leeds North West) said: "Each and every one of my constituents has been let down by the lack of funding for our council by central government. This has meant councils all over the country are now at breaking point.

"I am speaking directly to the council regarding these proposed closures and will be looking at all ways to ensure these vital local facilities can remain open. Ellar Ghyll provides a vital service to Otley and the surrounding areas.

"The closure of Yeadon Sailing Centre will not only affect the local area but the whole city. We need to explore further the option of bringing the club into community ownership if the council are no longer able to finance it. Water sports are a perfect example of a socially distanced activity, which in the current climate we need to be saving, not reducing. Ultimately we need well-funded councils to provide the services we all depend on."

Councillor Colin Campbell (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon) said: "It seems to us that there is a long term strategy to remove services from areas like Otley and Yeadon and concentrate them in a few favoured Labour wards.

"Closing the Ellar Ghyll site will mean residents who want to do their bit for the environment will have to travel further, causing more pollution, or they may simply stop recycling altogether - making a mockery of Leeds' plans to go carbon neutral.

"Closing the Yeadon Tarn Sailing Centre removes a valued service for young people. And stopping servicing Chippindale Pool goes back on a commitment given when Leeds closed the old open air pool in Otley. The withdrawal of support means swimming may end in Otley."

Councillor Ryk Downes (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon) added: "Removing these facilities that residents fund through their council tax will mean they will have to travel further and increase their carbon footprint, or indeed reduce their physical activity and leisure activities.

"I realise these are difficult times but to totally ignore locally elected councillors shows a complete disregard for democracy."

The full report can be read at https://democracy.leeds.gov.uk/documents/s210924/Budget%20Savings%20Report%20Appendices%20131020.pdf.