Rethink call over changes for Sort It Centre

February 28 2020

RESIDENTS are calling for South Gloucestershire Council to rethink plans to buy land next to the Mangotsfield Sort It Centre and use it to base recycling lorries.

The Voice reported in November that the council’s cabinet had approved a £6 million revamp of waste collection services, which included spending £600,000 to build a separate slip road to take traffic queuing for the recycling centre off Carsons Road.

The council said it would also use land next to the tip – which it planned to buy at "above market value" - to relocate the Cowhorn Hill vehicle depot, which has been subject to noise complaints, from Warmley.

People living near the Sort It site in Carsons Road have complained for years about queuing traffic causing a hazard outside the centre.

But they claim the council's plans don't tackle the source of the current problems and could actually make things worse.

Siston Hill resident Stewart Hadley-Clarke has posted a petition on the council website calling for it to review its "poorly thought out plans" and delay buying the field next door, which the council plans to do by April, until further assessments and "easier site improvements" are made. He says the new slip road could be provided by using common land next to the site.

Stewart also argues that that the main reasons for delays are the placing of weighbridges that dustcarts and recycling lorries have to use near the entrance to the site, which means the vehicles queue out into the road, and the failure to give members of the public planning to visit the site and indication of when it is busy via webcams, social media and electronic signs.

Stewart said: "Sadly the council's latest plans don't involve any real changes to the current site and they don't address the main issues. The proposed slip road will be for both refuse and public vehicles and then somehow the new vehicle depot has to also be fitted in. Present problems will simply be compounded rather than being suitably resolved."

Residents say up to 120 vehicles – 30 refuse trucks and 90 staff cars – would park at the new depot.

Kate Goodwin, who has lived on the Siston Hill estate for 12 years, said: "It feels like we're getting a known problem from somewhere else moved here."

Dawn Porter, who has lived in Siston Hill for 11 years, said: "There needs to be consultation before the decision is made, not after."

A council spokesperson said: “We are committed to improving access to Mangotsfield Sort It Centre and reducing congestion by creating a dedicated slip road to the site. This follows feedback from local residents and members of the public asking us to do so.

“We are unable to do this with the land we currently have available due to the geographical features of the area, the width and sweep of the highway, drainage and the need to maintain safe access to other properties. Because of this we need to purchase an area of private land adjacent to the current site.

“It is planned that the new slip road will be completed in 2021, subject to the purchase of the land and planning consent. Purchasing the additional land also presents an opportunity to relocate some vehicles from our Cowhorn depot to the new site, with the remaining vehicles being transferred to Filton.

“Locating these vehicles next to the Sort It Centre will help reduce emissions and traffic, as the vehicles already regularly use Carsons Road. Our plans are at an early stage and any changes would not take place until 2023.”

The council is organising a meeting for residents to discuss the changes on February 19 at 5.30pm at Warmley Community Centre, a roadshow on February 21 from 10am to 4pm on the green at Ridley Avenue, Siston Hill, and a site tour and meeting at the Sort It centre on April 14 at 5.30pm. The petition can be found on the council website at bit.ly/2FYxM46.

Siston Hill residents Dawn Porter, Kate Goodwin and Stewart Hadley-Clarke outside the Mangotsfield Sort It centre