BUSINESSES in Canal Road in Trowbridge say they have reached the end of their tether over lost trade and gridlocked traffic because of reduced opening hours at the recycling centre.

With the summer months bringing increased visits by residents wanting to dump rubbish, some businesses have seen a dip in trade as customers struggle to get past queues of cars.

This week, Darlington & Smith Carpets has put up a sign warning people that if they park on its land they will be clamped.

Proprietor Clare Davis, 49, said a scheduled meeting between Wiltshire Council, Hills Waste Solutions Group and the police to combat the issue but it never happened.

She added: “We have become a throwaway society. People are encouraged to recycle but they face huge queues when trying to do so.

“There are huge articulated lorries trying to get around queueing cars – it is an accident waiting to happen for both drivers and pedestrians.

“We have had people tell us they will come on Thursday or Friday as they know there won’t be any congestion problems because the recycling centre is closed on those days.

“We used to have two plastic signs on poles but people were parking underneath them and shouting at us if we asked them to move.”

Reduced opening hours at recycling centres across the county, which are run by contractors Hills, came into force last year to help the council save money.

But after numerous complaints the council announced a fortnight ago that it was trialling earlier opening hours. Residents using a van or trailer will also have to show a permit, which is only valid for 12 trips a year.

Other businesses say they have had no warning about the changes, despite being within 50 yards of the centre.

Matt Jones, who works at Trowbridge Power Tools, said the industrial estate is gridlocked every Saturday.

“Saturdays are pretty chaotic,” he said.

“We have had customers park in Lidl and walk around because they can’t drive in.

“The other week, an ambulance wasn’t able to get through because the road was blocked both sides.

“We haven’t been told about the new opening hours or the van permits. We only heard when someone came in to change his trailer.”

A Wiltshire Council spokesman said: “We have been monitoring all our sites since opening hours were amended last year.

"We know the summer is particularly busy and would ask people to check the opening times at before setting off, as all Wiltshire HRCs now close two days per week.

"All of our HRCs are open Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays, and we have staggered the days of site closures to ensure at least one HRC remains open within a reasonable driving distance of residents’ most local site.

“Because there have been queues at many of our sites before 10am, we have agreed with Hills that they can open those HRCs an hour earlier on a trial basis during the summer. All sites will still close at 4pm.”