The Sort It! civic amenity site in Station Road, Little Stoke, is to begin closing on Wednesdays when new operating times come into force on 1st August.
The news was buried in the footnotes of a South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) press release titled “Improvements to Sort It! Centres” put out on Wednesday (26th July).
In common with other Sort It! sites in Mangotsfield, Yate and Thornbury, the Little Stoke site will benefit from extended opening hours between April and September, remaining open until 6:30pm, but whereas the other sites will continue to open seven days a week, Little Stoke will now be closed on Wednesdays throughout the year.
Over a whole year, the other three sites will see a 25% increase in opening hours but for Little Stoke the total yearly hours will remain more or less unchanged.
Council says Little Stoke mid-week closure will pay for longer hours at other sites
Challenged by The Journal over the seemingly geographically-biased decision, a SGC spokesperson said:
“The reason for closing a SORT IT!* Centre for one day is to help to pay for extended hours on all sites.”
“The reason why Stoke Gifford [Little Stoke] was chosen was that it is a small site, which already has a vehicle height restriction and trailer ban in place for health and safety reasons. Wednesday was also the obvious day to close the Stoke Gifford site as data analysis showed this to be the least busy day at this site.”
“When we met with the local members for Stoke Gifford earlier this year they agreed the extra hours more than compensated for the day closure.”
Asked for their views on the changes, Bradley Stoke South Glos Councillors Ben Walker, Brian Hopkinson, Sarah Pomfret, Robert Jones and John Ashe commented:
“The Wednesday closing is a trade off for longer hours on the other six days of the week. We would encourage local residents to let us know what they think of the new times and whether they prefer to have longer opening hours every day except Wednesdays or if they would rather revert back to the previous arrangement of Wednesday openings but shorter hours every day.”
“Of course, in an ideal world, we would want to see longer opening hours including on Wednesdays, but this is unrealistic in the current financial climate.”
No progress on building a replacement for the inadequate Little Stoke facility
SGC accepted in its 2008 Waste Strategy document that the Little Stoke site was providing an inadequate service for local residents, stating:
“A replacement Sort It! Centre for Stoke Gifford is needed to provide an appropriate service to the local population. The search for a suitable site continues and may not be completed until the Council’s Green Belt policy has been reviewed”
Asked about the progress made in the search for a replacement site, an SGC spokesperson told The Journal:
“The Council’s plans to identify alternative land on which to build a replacement Sort It! Centre for the Stoke Gifford area are still very much work in progress. Since 2005 the Council and SITA have carried out extensive searches on available land so far without success due to planning and highway restrictions. Until recently this project has been on hold pending the review of both Green Belt and other industrial sites to see what alternative and suitable land becomes available.”
“Securing land on which to build a new site is still a key objective of the council’s local waste strategy and is now incorporated in the Council’s Core Strategy document, policy CS27, relating to development East of Harry Stoke, which provides for a ‘waste transfer and recycling facility’. It is now hoped that with more housing developments being built that this will open up further opportunities and discussions with developers. However, even if we manage to identify suitable land going forwards, delivering a new site is still going to take several years to complete.”
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