RESIDENTS of a village are calling for a recycling centre to be re-opened as part of their drive to become a zero-waste community.

Villagers in Forest Row, near East Grinstead, have been campaigning for three years to bring back the centre, with East Sussex County Council set to make a decision on a proposal by the parish council later this month.

Plans put forward include a recycling depot for numerous household waste lines, a second-hand shop with items too good to go to landfill, and opportunities for upcycling and repair.

With the site in Station Road now up for sale, after closing in 2018, the parish council has acquired a loan to bid for the land, which would then be leased to community interest company FRow ReSource to run the centre.

Green district councillor Patricia Patterson-Vanegas said: "It has been incredible to witness the local support for this pioneering project.

"No matter what age, what political party, what religious beliefs, the great majority of residents agree this recycling centre is an essential part of Forest Row life, and they want it back."

Campaigners say reopening the recycling centre would save almost 13,000 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions, as well as providing jobs and apprenticeships and counting social isolation.

Younger generations in the village have been actively involved with the campaign, with 24-year-old Zofia Page creating a short film to explain the story, and the benefits of, the recycling centre.

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She said: "If East Sussex County Council refuse the bid, that means more incineration and less upcycling and reuse.

"Instead of getting a sofa from the FRow ReSource shop, people will still be going to Ikea having to buy a new one.

"It would be much nicer to visit locally and get what you need and catch up with other local people in person at the same time - better for our mental health and community cohesion."

Resident Lin Squires agreed and said: "It just seems a bit of a no-brainer to me.

"Everybody wins if we can reopen this site. Our village gets to reuse all its waste stuff, people get to meet properly again and we save the planet. What’s not to like?"

The decision on the bid will be made by East Sussex County Council on November 9.

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