Families are being told to keep hold of their bulky waste – following the temporary closure of all tips across North Staffordshire and South Cheshire.
The private contractors running the Hanford and Federation Road household waste recycling centres on behalf of Stoke-on-Trent City Council made the decision to close the facilities due to the coronavirus outbreak.
This followed the closure of all the recycling centres run by Staffordshire County Council and Cheshire East Council earlier in the week.
The city council had previously made the decision to halt bulky waste and brown bin collections, with other kerbside collections continuing.
Council leader Abi Brown said: “The Hanford and Federation Road recycling centres are run by separate contractors who have both decided to close. On Wednesday we were contacted by the company which runs Hanford, as they wanted to talk about what was happening with the facility
“This was their decision, but clearly we recognise that other tips in the area have also closed. We will continue to talk to the contractors and keep the situation under review.
“At the moment we are seeing that residents are acting very responsibly in the light of these changes, such as around brown bin collections.”
Trentham resident Jean Rigby was among the members of the public who were caught out by the the sudden closure of the Hanford tip.
She said: “We had some glass panes from the greenhouse to get rid of as they had been broken. We heard on the radio that both tips were open so we headed straight down there.
“But when we got there the gates were shut and there was a man standing there by the locked gates, smirking and offering no explanation.”
Boothen and Oakhill ward councillor Andy Platt raised concerns that the closures could lead to increased fly-tipping.
He said: “In my ward in particular fly-tipping can be an almost daily occurance.
“It is disappointing that the recycling centres have closed. I totally support managers and workers wanting to be safe from the virus, but I would hope there could be some way around it.
“What I would say to residents is, ‘Don’t fly-tip.’ Just keep hold of your waste and hopefully a solution will be found.”
The county council made the decision on Tuesday to close all 14 of its household waste recycling centres, including the facilities in Newcastle, Biddulph, Leek, Cheadle, Stone and Stafford, following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement of a nationwide lockdown.
The authority says it will be working with district and borough councils ‘to make best use of the sites to support essential services’, but that members of the public should stay away from them ‘until further notice’.
Cheshire East Council announced on Wednesday that all its tips would be closed, including those at Alsager, Congleton and Crewe.
A spokesman said: “Residents are asked to retain any bulky or DIY waste – do not leave it kerbside, please do not fly tip and do not place it with household or recycling waste. The closures will be reviewed regularly.”