Waste centres will re-open on Monday
Household waste and recycling centres in Cheshire East are to reopen on Monday, although people will only be allowed access on certain days for the first week.
Car number plates will determine when people can use sites. Those with odd last numbers will be allowed in on Monday, Wednesday, Friday (15th) and Sunday (17th). Reg plates with even numbers will be allowed in on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (16th).
Cars will only be allowed on site one at a time, so the council warned drivers to expect delays.
The move to re-open the gates followed complaints from people that Cheshire East Council was breaching Government guidelines and encouraging fly-tipping by keeping the centres closed.
One letter to this week’s Chronicle complained that Cheshire East was “very quick” to close waste recycling centres, and was “now seeking to wholly blame the Government for the closures.”
Sandbach town councillor Coun David Jack was among those calling for the council to re-open waste sites “taking its own advice and following Government guidance”.
The council pre-empted more complaints by announcing the re-opening – although it urged people to note that centres will open with restrictions and traffic management in place.
People were also urged to only travel to a site where the journey is essential and where the waste or recycling cannot be safely stored at home until a later date.
All eight sites will reopen, operating seven days a week from 8.30am–5pm. All users of the sites will need to observe social distancing measures “which, unfortunately, means site staff will not be able to assist anyone,” said the council.
Access will be permitted for cars only (maximum two people per car), with no vans, vehicle trailers or commercial vehicles allowed – and no pedestrians. Children will not be allowed, and where younger children can’t stay at home, they will be allowed in but they must not exit the car.
Site staff will not be able to assist with the unloading or lifting of items. People are advised to ensure they can do this themselves or to have a second person with them to help with heavy or bulky items.
For safety purposes, a traffic management system will be in place at all sites. Queuing outside the sites will be restricted and residents may be asked to leave and return later. Sites will be operating on a one out, one in basis for cars, so residents are warned that waiting times may be “significantly longer”.
To help prevent people travelling from areas outside of Cheshire East, residents may be asked for evidence of their address, and so are advised to have a recent utility bill or council tax bill with them.
Coun Laura Crane, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member for waste, said: “I would like to thank residents for their patience over recent weeks while our household waste recycling centres have been closed.
“When the sites reopen, restrictions will be in place and it is very likely that queues will be much longer than usual. So, I ask everyone please to bear with us so we can ensure the safety of all site users and our staff.”
She added: “I would urge everyone to think about how essential it is to travel to a site and to be aware that sites will be open seven days a week, so there is no need to rush to visit one immediately when they reopen. It will be best to wait until the likely high demand has decreased.
“If you really can’t wait, please be prepared for a delay, listen to the directions from staff and ensure you take note of the signage.”
Coun Jack said: “They should have never been closed and Cheshire East leadership and the portfolio holder for waste have caused increased fly-tipping and illegal dumping to blight the whole region by their stubbornness to understand simple Government directions and advice.
“The leader of Cheshire East Coun, Sam Corcoran and Coun Crane haven't acknowledged they failed to follow Government advice. The saga highlights the lack of experience or qualification to operate services effectively on behalf of the residents of Cheshire East by the members in charge.”
Coun Crane warned that due to additional volumes of waste and recycling that was accumulating due to the lockdown situation, and reduced capacity with council contractors, some of the waste taken to the sites would have to go to landfill.
She said: “This is something we want to avoid as it goes against our environmental policy but, unfortunately, we have no other option at the moment.
“We would be grateful if additional waste and recycling could be kept safely at home until we are out of this temporary situation. This would benefit the environment in the longer term.”
All normal street collections for household waste, garden and food waste and recycling collections are still operating and have been throughout the Covid-19 crisis.
Coun Crane added: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the crews for their tireless hard work and determination to keep our collections going. This includes all staff who have joined crews from other areas of the council to ensure residents have an uninterrupted service.”
• The Congleton centre is off Barn Road, near Tesco. The Macclesfield
centre is off the A536 Macclesfield to Congleton Road at Gawsworth (SK11 9QP).