STRUCTURAL engineers have confirmed part of a fire-hit Taunton recycling centre, in Priorswood, will need to be demolished before the public can be allowed back in.

The site’s material recovery facility suffered structural damage leaving it in an unsound state and the engineers have now said the building would have to be knocked down before public areas can be safely reopened.

Biffa, which manages the site on behalf of Somerset Council, has instructed a demolition company to carry out the work, which is expected to start before the end of the month.

It is not yet known how long the work will take.

In the meantime, the Taunton site will remain closed and recycling centres in Wellington and Bridgwater will continue to stay open seven days a week.

Staff redeployed from Taunton will help with the extra opening hours in Wellington and Bridgwater, which both saw a large influx of visitors last weekend.

People have been advised if possible to save their visit for a weekday when it would be less busy.

Wellington has proven to be particularly busy on a Wednesday, so residents have been advised to avoid it and use the Bridgwater site if practical on a Wednesday.

Kerbside recycling collections have not been affected by the closure and residents have been told they should continue to put their refuse and recycling out as usual.

Residents who would usually use Taunton’s Priorswood site have been requested to either:

  • Hold on to their recycling if it can wait

  • Put it in their kerbside recycling if it is the right kind of material

  • Try one of the council’s other 15 sites if it is waste that urgently needs to go

Devon and Cornwall Fire and Rescue said the cause of the fire, which started in the early hours of October 3 and burned for more than a week, was accidental.

It saw 60 firefighters and seven appliances involved in tackling it, including crews from Wellington, Wiveliscombe, Minehead, and Williton.