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Parking poser for dumpers at Elson’s Free Skips launch

Report and photographs by Globe Correspondent Sue Desbois
I HAD no pre-conceived ideas of how the Free Skips concept would pan out, so set off at breakfast time on Saturday to see what was about to unfold.
As I had been told that parking would be difficult, I got a lift with a friend. We parked and walked for about five minutes to Elson Rec, where the skips were located. It was before 10 o’clock and traffic was already backed up on Elson Road, trying to turn in.
The road is narrow and instead of driving through and finding a space, many cars were parked and blocking others’ access.  It would have been helpful if there was someone (or two) dealing with this.
Closer to the actual skips there were helpers telling dumpers which skip to use, based on what they had brought.  I was surprised at the number of work-type vehicles – vans and pickups, some with trailers.
In the ‘blurb’ there wasn’t a mention of the skips not being available to contractors, etc – only that it was for residents of Gosport.  But I also didn’t see/hear this being asked of anyone, certainly not for proof of residence.
There were four skips on site – three on the grass and one by the entrance gate.  Originally it was said there would be three and another one if that was full.  But here we already had four.
Lots of activity, as you can imagine.  People with wheelbarrows, on mobility scooters, others with shopping trolleys filled to the gunwales with stuff that had been discarded for some time, but never actually dumped.
My favourite tipper was Leyton – probably aged eight or nine, on a bike and with a bulging carrier bag.  He did six trips, to my knowledge, and told me he was helping his family.
At 10.33am the skips were full and I overheard someone say that another two were on their way.  Sure enough, very soon another was brought and quickly filled.  Vehicles were still arriving, but at a trickle.
One of the council employees said that someone had to be there until the skips had gone, to stop them from being overfilled – or until 2pm, whichever was the later.  I left, returning at 1.45pm.  There were three full skips on the grass and still people were arriving in cars, only to be turned away.  I wonder what time the last council employee left?
Opinions about the event were mixed – some people I spoke to thought it was wonderful especially as they could bring soil and dump for free, the Municipal Tip charges.  Lots of chat about doing away with the appointment system but the same people said they hated having to queue – can’t have it all?
The next dumpfest is at White’s Place, off Forton Road – at least that has easier access with an ‘in and an out’. See you there?
PICTURED: Hustle and bustle as Gosport residents congregate to dump their refuse in skips provided free by Gosport Borough Council at Elson Rec on Saturday.