QUEUES outside Andover's Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) were "inevitable" after Hampshire County Council "dragged its feet on reopening its waste tips", according to one Andover Town councillor.

Cllr Luigi Gregori (Lib Dem, Harroway) has told the Advertiser that he believes that the petition, organised by the Liberal Democrats in the county, "forced [HCC's] hand" to reopen the tip.

It comes after long queues were seen outside of Andover's HWRC earlier this month. Cars were seen waiting well down Livingstone Road, past a sign saying "do not queue past this point".

It mirrored similar scenes across the county, and forced the county council to extend their limited opening hours and plead with people to only go to the tips if the waste build-up was causing a risk to injury or illness.

Cllr Rob Humby, deputy leader, previously said: "I would ask people to consider if they really do need to take their waste to an HWRC at this time.

"We have seen significant traffic queues in the last two weeks since the HWRCs reopened, which have impacted on local people trying to get to work as well as having a detrimental impact on the ability of businesses nearby to get back up and running."

Now, Cllr Gregori has said that there was "little resilience" in the tips to allow for social distancing measures to be implemented.

“It is unclear why Conservative Hampshire County Council dragged its feet on reopening its waste tips," he said.

"I think that the petition organised by the Liberal Democrats signed by many residents across the county force their hand.

"The tips are operated by a private company which got them up and running much quicker than was briefed by the county council.

"Since Saturday, they are now open for an extra two hours: 1000-1800.

"Queues were inevitable. Waste had been piling up in peoples’ homes or garages, spring brings out a lot of garden waste, and lockdown itself including more cooking and drinking at home generated more rubbish.

"Queues are not unique at this time of year but the tips are designed to be cheap and cheerful to maintain. There is little resilience in them. Social distancing and other control measures will have eliminated half the bays."

Cllr Gregori added that the two borough councils across the Basingstoke and Andover area had "different priorities".

"In Test Valley, a weekly bin collection service was maintained but Basingstoke & Deane moved to fortnightly collection. You do not need to be a genius to work out which tips are under greater pressure, and which has more fly-tipping.”

Hampshire County Council have been contacted for comment.