People have been talking a lot about the Household recycling centres, some people do like the Covid enforced booking system and find it helpful, but mostly I hear people complaining. Therefore, I have asked some questions of the senior leadership at Wiltshire Council.
First, the good news! From today there will be more bookable slots available in Marlborough. This has been achieved by adding another unloading bay and restricting van and trailer slots to between 9am and 1pm, meaning these spaces can also be used by cars between 1pm and 4pm.
There has also been some reconfiguration of the computer booking system. Initially, it is anticipated that this will increase the slots available by just over 20%. Some minor traffic queues may result immediately outside the HRC, but these are expected to be tolerable and will be monitored.
I have lobbied for the partial lifting of the booking system — or at least a trial of partial lifting — via free access at weekends. I haven’t been successful yet, because of concerns it will create significant traffic queues due to the need to achieve 2m social distancing on site. Such queuing would put additional pressure on the site staff effectively having to more robustly manage entry at the gates, with the potential confrontations that that might arise from this after people had been queuing for an hour or more to get in, and being told to wait as onsite capacity had been reached.
These concerns might lessen as the number of slots available increases, and I will continue to ask the question.
We do need to accept the need to keep everyone safe by continuing social distancing on our HRC sites. The booking system allows this Covid restriction to be achieved without significant queuing on the highway which would make access to Tesco, for example, more difficult and cause all sorts of frustrations. We all know how awful Marlborough traffic can be when queues are caused.
Hopefully, the addition of more slots will help people to get bookings, but I think we all recognise we must look after each other and be patient until the pandemic is passed.
Wiltshire Councillor for West Selkley