Council acts to cut waiting times at South Shields recycling centre

Middlefields Recycling Village traffic queues.
Middlefields Recycling Village traffic queues.

Extra staff are being laid on at South Tyneside’s main recycling centre in a bid to help users out of a jam.

Council bosses say they are reacting to public opinion over waiting times and traffic jams at the Middlefields Rycycling Village in South Shields.

Council chiefs have drafted in extra staff to keep the traffic moving them in amid fierce criticism about lengthy hold-ups from people trying to dispose of rubbish.

They are also planning to “fast track” visitors who only have a small amount of rubbish to dispose of.

Earlier this month, the Gazette revealed there were waiting times of up to 45 minutes at the centre at Tyne Dock, South Shields.

The debate was sparked by bus driver Steve Dickinson, 50, who slammed the council after being one of dozens of motorists stuck in a queue.

Gazette readers also voiced their anger on social media site Facebook, with many saying they had endured similar delays.

South Tyneside Council have today confirmed additional workers would be on site over the coming weeks and new operating systems would be trialled.

These include a fast-track method for visitors wishing to dispose of only a small amount of material.

It admitted that some bays have been underused and pledged that staff would be more proactive in directing drivers to available spaces.

The move comes ahead of this week’s bank holiday weekend - one of the busiest recycling times of the year.

Coun Moira Smith, lead member for area management and community safety, said: “We have taken on board residents’ concerns about the waiting times.

“In anticipation of the busy bank holiday period, we have put some extra measures in place. In the short term, this includes having extra staff on the site. They will be directing users into the empty bays while supporting them to dispose of their waste correctly, safely and as quickly as possible.”

She added: “We would ask visitors to help us speed up the process further by separating their waste into material types before visiting the site.

“It is encouraging to see so many people visiting the Recycling Village and we hope that the measures we are trialling will go some way to improving the experience for visitors.

“We are always looking at ways to improve the Recycling Village facilities and will continue to monitor the operations to ensure they meet demand when required.

“Over the longer term, we will also be reviewing options to increase the capacity of waste and recycling facilities in the borough.”

Mr Dickinson, of Colman Avenue, Simonside, South Shields, accused staff of failing to direct drivers to available parking spaces.

He also blamed hold-ups on the council’s new policy of charging householders to pay for green recycling.