Kingston’s only large recycling centre has been off-limits to pedestrians for a year and a half, meaning even people who live just down the road have to drive there.

Now the council is preparing a trial period of opening the Villiers Road centre for foot and cycle access for three hours, one day a week.

Councillor Hilary Gander, portfolio holder for environment and sustainable transport, said: “This trial is part of the council facilitating healthy, sustainable ways of travelling around our borough and accessing services.

“My hope is that local people make the most of the scheme and further boost our recycling rate in the process.”

Pedestrian access was stopped at the centre when some other council services were moved to the site, bringing frequent movements of large vehicles such as winter gritters, the street cleaning fleet and bin lorries with them.

The council has always insisted that safety concerns were the only thing stopping people from being allowed to walk in to the centre.

At a meeting of the concil’s Environment and Sustainable Transport Committee in June this year, a resident who had lived near Villiers Road for 30 years asked the committee what they were going to do about reinstating access.

A council officer said a traffic survey of the site had been completed, but the findings were not “overly positive” for allowing pedestrian access – although she then promised to “get creative” in coming up with a solution.

Cllr Gander, who chaired the meeting, agreed with the resident that the lack of access was a problem.

She said at the time: “Just because you don’t have a car, it doesn’t mean you don’t want to recycle and that you shouldn’t be able to recycle.”

For 12 Sundays, beginning on December 9 and ending on February 24, pedestrians and cyclists will be able to visit the site between 1pm-4pm.

They will be met by staff at the gate, and will then be escorted around the site.

Residents will need to bring photo ID and their council tax demand letter with them.

After the trial, the results will be looked at to determine the future of access to the centre.

More information can be found at