Council chiefs have hit back at residents who are anger over the running of a recycling village in South Tyneside - saying budget cuts are to blame.
Gazette readers reacted in their droves after Steven Dickinson told of his 45-minute wait in a traffic jam to discard his rubbish at the Middlefields Industrial Estate tip and recyling centre in South Shields on Sunday.
He isn’t the only one with a gripe over the running of the site.
Other residents blame:
* The site’s opening hours.
* The introduction of the borough’s green bin charge forcing more people to use the recycling village.
I have been back and it was a lot better. I got straight in but I noticed the workers were waving the cars into spaces which they weren’t doing before.Steven Dickinson
* Not enough staff on duty at peak times - although the council says it does have extra people on duty
South Tyneside Council say the blame lies at the feet of the cuts they’ve had to make to services due to lack of funding from the Government - with Coun Ed Malcolm saying that the council is doing its best to minimise the impact the cuts and having to make hard decisions over service provision.
He described the changes to opening times and service provision as “merely the pinch point” with the real challenges was around adult social care so the most vulnerable in society can be treated with “dignity and respect.”
The site is operated by Suez with the council saying it allocates additional staff at peak times like the weekend.
Operating hours were reduced in September 2014.
A council spokeswoman said: “A range of options are available for people to recycle their green waste.
“Some people have taken the decision to recycle their green waste for free by taking it to the recycling village. Some people have invested in a composting bin to recycle at home and some have subscribed to the green waste collection service.
“For those who wish to use the Recycling Village, it is open every day of the year except Christmas Day.
“It is generally busier during the summer holidays and at weekends. We would advise people to avoid peak periods and instead visit the Recycling Village between 9.30am and 11am, or after 4pm during the week.”
She added: “Staff are on site to direct users into empty spaces and aim to help people dispose of their waste as quickly and safely as possible as well as ensuring that waste is sorted correctly.”
The council revealed there are currently 15,800 people paying for the green waste service and said there is always an increase in people using the site during the summer months.
Steven Dickinson said: “Since I spoke to the Gazette and the issues was highlighted, I’ve had lots of people sending me messages saying it’s about time something was done as it has been like that for ages.
“I have been back and it was a lot better. I got straight in but I noticed the workers were waving the cars into spaces which they weren’t doing before.
“I don’t know if it was a fluke or they have been told to do it but it made things a lot easier.
“But there are still things they could do to speed things up, like having the workers helping people.
“There was a woman struggling with what looked like a part of a tree trunk, and it was another customer who came and gave her hand.”
Opening hours will be extended until 7.30pm over the Bank Holiday weekend.
For further information visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/article/33365/Recycling-Village-and-permits