A new booking system and added restrictions will be in place when Swindon Borough Council partially re-opens its Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) next week.

The Council will be trialling the partial re-opening of the HWRC in Cheney Manor industrial estate in order to effectively manage demand and ensure the safety of residents and staff.

In line with government guidance released last week, the HWRC will re-open to residents for essential waste trips only from Wednesday, 20 May with residents having to book a specific time to be able to attend.

Booking slots will be open on Tuesday (19 May) and can be booked five days’ in advance. The Council will announce on Monday when the booking system will be live.

Residents should only book an appointment at the HWRC if they are disposing of essential waste. Essential waste, as defined by the Government, refers to any waste or recycling that cannot be stored on a property without causing a risk of injury, health or harm to the household, or harm to public health and amenity.

In order to ensure the safety of residents and staff, while managing congestion in the local area, a number of temporary restrictions will be in place at the site.

Restrictions will include limiting the number of vehicles accessing the site, the introduction of a one-way traffic system in Cheney Manor industrial estate, implementing social distancing across the site and limiting the types of vehicles allowed at the recycling centre.

Residents will need to book an appointment at the HWRC prior to arriving and a limited number of slots will be available on the Council’s website. Appointments for the first five days will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis with new slots being released daily. Households will only be able to visit the site twice a month, initially.

Appointment slots will be available between the new opening times of 10am and 4pm, Monday to Friday. These reduced hours will allow for enhanced cleaning and traffic management. The site will be closed to all residents throughout the weekend to ensure the site can be thoroughly cleared ahead of the following week.

As usual, the HWRC will be open to residents in the Borough of Swindon only and visitors will be required to bring a proof of address. Anyone who fails to bring this documentation, does not book, or does not abide by the clear instructions given at the point of booking, will be turned away by staff.

To ensure council staff and residents are protected from COVID-19, social distancing will be enforced. A maximum of two residents will be allowed per vehicle and where possible, children should not be brought on site. When queuing, residents will be required to remain in their vehicles, with their windows closed, unless otherwise prompted by staff.

Visitors need to ensure they have washed their hands before arriving and double bagged all non-recyclable waste. Staff will not be available to help residents unload their vehicles under current social distancing guidelines.

If a resident is displaying any symptoms of COVID-19 or has been advised to shield or self-isolate, they should not come to the centre.

Restrictions will also apply to the types of vehicles allowed. Trailers, as well as large vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, will not be allowed to use the HWRC under current restrictions. The site will not be available to trade or business waste customers at this time.

A one-way system will be implemented in Cheney Manor Industrial Estate to reduce the impact of queuing, with residents attending the HWRC only allowed to come in to the estate via Rodbourne Road. A temporary holding lane will be used with checks on bookings and addresses being carried out at the entrance to Darby Close.

The trial will be reviewed on a daily basis and improvements made where possible. It is anticipated the new measures will be in place until the government guidance is relaxed.

Councillor David Renard, Leader of Swindon Borough Council, said: “I am pleased we are able to partially re-open the Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) for residents. However, I must urge people to only visit if it is absolutely necessary so we can maintain a safe environment for residents and staff.

“A number of councils opened their recycling centres as soon as they could and were beset with problems, mainly because too many people tried to access the sites at the same time.

“This is why we have taken a few extra days to design a booking system so we limit the number of people visiting the HWRC. In fact, a number of residents contacted us to suggest we introduce such a system.

“I appreciate that many residents may have taken the opportunity to do gardening and DIY during lockdown, but we would still ask people to store any non-essential waste until we are in a position to lift restrictions at the HWRC.

“It is very important residents don’t waste their time and book before they arrive.”

To check all the restrictions residents need to visit the Council’s website at www.swindon.gov.uk/HWRC

For updates on other council services, please visit www.swindon.gov.uk/coronavirus.