Compensation call after Stevenage tip shuts due to demand

Robin Parker
Liberal Democrat Borough Councillor for Manor Ward and Leader of the Liberal Democra

Robin Parker Liberal Democrat Borough Councillor for Manor Ward and Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Stevenage Borough Council and Liberal Democrat County Councillor for Chells Division on Hertfordshire County Council - Credit: Archant

Compensation should be paid to people turned away from a tip after it closed unexpectedly, says a frustrated councillor.

Councillor Robin Parker has been fielding complaints after Stevenage’s household waste site shut because it ‘reached capacity’ on Saturday and Sunday.

On finding the Stevenage site was closed, some were told to go to the next closest tip in Ware, only to find it was also shut.

The AmeyCespa-managed site in Caxton Way is owned by Herts County Council, of which Liberal Democrat Mr Parker is a member.

He said: “This sounds like very poor management.

“Anybody with common sense could have known that, on a bright sunny spring weekend, many residents are going to want to have a clear out.

“It means that residents were inconvenienced by a wasted journey, with fuel costs and pollution consequences. My request for compensation to be considered for the residents was rejected.

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“It is bad enough that the Tory administration at County Hall has cut the opening times of these sites – so that in Stevenage, for example, it closes on Thursdays and Fridays – but to have the sites unavailable at other prime times is very poor indeed.”

A County Hall spokesman said: “The waste recycling centres have been extremely busy over the last couple of weeks due to a combination of very good weather and the Easter school holidays.

“Our contractors predicted this and employed additional resource to deal with the peak.

“However, many of the sites were inundated with users and unfortunately the containers at Stevenage and Ware filled up so quickly on Saturday and Sunday that they couldn’t keep up with demand.

“This meant that the sites were temporarily unavailable until the full containers were taken away and replaced.”

There was chaos last week in Letchworth after drivers queued for hours to get into another tip based in Blackhorse Road.

Drivers vented their anger after sitting in long queues with some saying it feels like ‘an accident waiting to happen’ – and there were more issues at the weekend.

The council decided to alter the opening hours of tips in the area from the start of the year, meaning the Letchworth facility is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, in a bid to save cash. The authority stressed at the time it had decided against outright closures, but sites had to shut their gates at less busy times.