THE Somerset Council household waste recycling centre (HWRC) in Poole, Wellington, will open every day next week after a major fire closed the authority's Taunton site.

Wellington is usually closed on Mondays and Tuesdays but next week will open Monday to Sunday. 

The extra opening is an option for people who would usually use the Taunton HWRC, which has been closed since the fire in the early hours of Tuesday (October 3), the smoke from which was visible in Wellington.

The Taunton site, in Priorswood, where the fire is continuing to burn, will remain closed until further notice after suffering structural damage.

A council spokesman said: “At this stage, the cause of the blaze is not known, and crews were still in attendance today tackling small persistent fires.

“Residents are urged to stay away from the site and heed the road closed signs.

“The gates remain open so that fire services have access, but the site is closed.”

People living in areas still affected by smoke were being advised by Devon and Somerset Fire Service to keep windows and doors closed.

The Taunton HWRC averages around 700 visitors a day and residents who would usually use it are being asked to hold on to their recycling if it can wait, or put it in their kerbside recycling if it was the right kind of material, or try one of the council’s other 15 sites if it is waste that urgently needed to go.

Details of other HMRC sites can be found online here.

Somerset Council has 16 recycling sites across the county which are managed by Biffa on the its behalf and staff from Taunton have been redeployed to provide the extra opening in Wellington.

Somerset executive Cllr Dixie Darch said: “This is big disruption for a lot of people, we apologise for that, but hope everyone understands why it is just not possible to reopen the site at this stage.

“We have arranged extra opening at the nearest alternative sites to offer some help and will work with Biffa to do whatever we can to get Taunton back up and running soon.”

Tuesday’s blaze caused serious damage to the material recovery facility next to the public recycling site, an area which is not open to visitors.

The facility, which is where recycling is sorted for sending out to be reprocessed, is now considered structurally unsafe.

Specialist engineers are expected to assess the building early next week, once it is safe to access.

Firefighters from Wellington and Wiveliscombe were among 60 crew from all over Somerset called to the Priorswood site in the early hours of Tuesday to tackle the blaze.