CALLS for a new recycling centre near Haddington have been made by East Lothian Council’s leader, despite the local authority having to close one just a few miles away due to funding cuts.

Councillor Norman Hampshire was speaking as he set out his Labour administration’s general services budget for the year ahead at a meeting on Tuesday.

READ MORE: Council tax frozen this year, but 10 per cent rise expected next year

It included a £75,000 saving which would come from keeping the council’s Macmerry Recycling Centre, which is currently closed, mothballed for another year.

The move was opposed by Conservative Group leader George McGuire, who wanted to see the Macmerry centre reopened.

However, SNP opposition councillors wanted more cuts, calling on the council to lift savings to £125,000 by closing two recycling facilities.

Mr Hampshire told the special budget-setting meeting of the council that he wanted another recycling facility but there simply were not the funds.

And he said that the proposals from the SNP, which, he said, would see North Berwick close as well as Macmerry, went against future ambitions.

He said: “Macmerry is mothballed because of staffing and financial implications but East Lothian needs another recycling facility, probably around the Haddington area.

“We have no funds at the moment but we should never take that ambition away, trying to create a recycling facility.”

READ MORESeven per cent rent rise agreed as East Lothian Council sets budget

The Labour Group's plans to save money by keeping Macmerry closed were challenged in an amendment to their budget put forward by the Conservative Group.

Mr McGuire told the meeting: “Our priority is protecting the frontline services that people rely on day to day. That is why we would reverse Labour’s plan to shut the gates of Macmerry Recycling Centre for good.”

However, Councillor Lyn Jardine (SNP), leader of the opposition, said that the cuts to the facilities did not go far enough.

Her group called for £125,000 of savings, with two centres closing, likely Macmerry and North Berwick, leaving just two operating across the county.

She said: “We need to be honest about the lack of sustainability of two of our recycling centres and the need to not just mothball but close them, focusing our efforts on the other centres that meet requirements.”

Currently, the council has four recycling facilities – Kinwegar Recycling Centre, Wallyford; Dunbar Recycling Centre; North Berwick Recycling Centre; and Macmerry Recycling Centre (currently closed).