See Suffolk's new £3.9m waste recycling centre
PUBLISHED: 13:10 21 January 2020 | UPDATED: 13:58 21 January 2020
Copyright: Archant 2020
West Suffolk's multi-million pound new waste recycling centre has opened its doors to the public.
The £3.9million flagship site in Fornham Road, Bury St Edmunds, opened on January 16 and replaced the former recycling centre at Rougham Hill.
It is part of the West Suffolk Operational Hub, a £23million project by West Suffolk Council and Suffolk County Council to manage waste by relocating a number of facilities to a single site.
Paul West, Suffolk County Council lead member for waste, said it was a major improvement on Rougham Hill and would serve the community of West Suffolk for many years to come.
He said: "A key aspect is no steps on site. Having to clamber up steps with heavy or awkward rubbish is no joke. Here, people walk up and drop their rubbish into the skip below.
"Also, lorries and the public are kept far apart so there is a much greater reduction of risk."
Mr West said Fornham Road had queuing space for up to 50 cars, and the council was now investigating ways of building similar centres for Ipswich and Stowmarket.
User Issi Anderson, a dental receptionist from Bury St Edmunds, said she was impressed.
"I think it's really well organised," she said. "The staff are very helpful and it is very well laid out. There is more than one skip for each category, which is handy, and the parking lanes are good too."
The centre is expected to deal with an anticipated 206,000 visitors per year, handling around 9,000 tonnes of waste - of which around 77% will be recycled or resued.
There is an onsite Reuse shop selling items either reclaimed from the skips or donated directly by the public, with proceeds going to the Benjamin Foundation.
However not everyone is impressed with the new set-up, with some on the Facebook group We Really Love Bury St Edmunds criticising the height of the safety walls between the skips and public access point.
One said: "To get your item into the skip, you have to hurl it over this high wall, and forwards over the metre wide gap into the skip far below - a task impossible for anyone even slightly infirm or lacking in strong biceps.
"The staff are having to constantly apologise for the poor setup, and, I would imagine, constantly retrieving items from the gap between the wall and the skip."
Are the critics right?
The big selling point for the new centre is how the public can drive up to the bays, unload and not have to clamber up steps wrestling with large items, which is certainly the case at my local centre in Stowmarket.
As someone just under 6ft tall and who is in good health I found it easy to use and the safety barriers did not present a problem to me.
Paul Smith, contract manager for SCC Environment, which runs 11 centres around the county, said the barriers are 1.10 metres high, the statutory specification used by every other such centre in the UK. Anyone who needs assistance only has to make themselves known to a member of staff and they will be happy to help, he said.
If I spotted one flaw it was with the paper recycling bins. Users walk into a bay and throw it in but if you miss, or the wind takes it, it lands on the ground around the bin and I saw a build-up of such debris that could end up being blown about if not collected promptly.