Tunbridge Wells HWRC Remains Closed After Fire


Tunbridge Wells (North Farm) Household Waste Recycling Centre remains closed after a fire broke out in its bulky waste bay last week.


Gigantic flames ripped through the building on the morning of 22nd October, where three fire engines battled to put out a 200 square metre area of burning carpets and mattresses. Kent Fire and Rescue Service used positive pressure ventilation fans and a mechanical digger to create a break and prevent further spread.


Due to towering plumes of thick dark smoke, Dowding Way was closed to traffic for several hours and pedestrian access was reduced, while nearby residents and businesses were advised to keep windows and doors shut.


Kent Fire and Rescue Service said the fire had started because of spontaneous combustion and strongly ruled out any suggestion the fire had been started by a cigarette, as some had speculated on social media.


KCC added: “There is no smoking permitted within the public areas. Smoking is permitted within a designated area by the staff welfare facilities away from the Transfer Station and the Household Waste Recycling Centre. There is no suggestion, nor evidence, that operatives smoke outside of this designated area.”



Firefighters were able to get the inferno under control just after 3pm but the household waste recycling centre remains closed while Kent County Council undertakes structural surveys to establish the extent of the fire damage.


A spokesman for Kent County Council said: “A full structural survey is being carried out. If the survey is good our aim is to take remedial actions to make the site and operation safe. This will allow for a partial re-opening, but timescales are not known at the moment.”


Members of the public are being advised to use Sevenoaks HWRC in the meantime.


The North Farm facility is also used as a transfer station by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council waste collection vehicles, and contingency arrangements have been made while the surveys take place.

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