EXTRA parking bays will be opened at Dorset’s tips following a relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions, to allow more residents to make use of the service and reduce queues.

Despite this, council bosses have said they are being forced to close one site at Blandford for 10 days for a roof to be replaced.

Dorset Council says that now Household Recycling Centre (HRC) measures are widely understood and mitigated against, it will be working closely with site operators W&S Recycling to test the opening of more parking bays at various sites to accommodate more visitors and reduce queuing times.

Trial openings of resale areas will also take place on a limited basis in a bid to reuse more of the items dropped off.

Visitors are being encouraged to use hand sanitiser which will be available on site and advised not to touch surfaces unless necessary. Payments can only be made using a contactless card system.

The moves come as Blandford HRC shut today, and it will remain closed until October 9 while essential work to replace the roof on the adjoining Waste Transfer Centre takes place.

During this time, residents can use sites at Shaftesbury and Sherborne.

While the repair work will continue until mid-November, Blandford HRC will reopen on October 10 as normal, 10am to 4pm, although garden waste will need to be accessed differently via steps.

Councillor Jill Haynes, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for customer and community services, said: “It’s important that we balance the public need for the services provided by our Household Recycling Centres with our responsibility towards preventing the spread of Covid-19.

“If we can reopen parking bays and reuse areas, and are confident that health and safety has not been compromised, it’s a positive step towards getting our services back to some kind of normality.

“The same is true of our essential works at Blandford. The Waste Transfer Barn roof needs to be replaced, but we are unable to do this entirely without closing the HRC for a brief spell.

“While the works will take around a month and a half, only 10 days of this will have a direct impact on Blandford residents and we have limited this closure to as short a time as possible for safety reasons.

“I’d like to thank everyone for their continuing patience and understanding at this time.”