HAMPSHIRE County Council has been widely criticised over its new recycling centre policies.

As previously reported, those looking to dispose of waste now need to book a slot either online or via telephone.

Many people have turned up, including at Bar End, only to be turned away even when there is no-one else using the centre.

But a number of people have since contacted the Chronicle to say the system is not working.

"I have to wonder if this is cost-cutting by Hampshire County Council," said one person, who wishes to remain anonymous.

"I turned up on Saturday and was surprised to find there was no queue - having queued a couple of weeks ago for about an hour-and-a-half.

"The man on the gate with a clipboard politely informed me there was no admission unless I had a pre-booked slot, and indicated a phone number and web address. I wasn't then allowed to drive through the depot to exit via the one-way system but had to do a U-turn in the road. Crazy.

"On returning home, I tried to book a slot online but none were available as the council is only releasing slots for the next two days and these were all booked."

The timed bookings were put in place to prevent long queues, which could be seen in Winchester when the Bar End centre reopened after 10 weeks in lockdown.

The person continued: "If Tesco can still provide a service and maintain social distancing without closing most of its aisles or insisting customers pre-book, why can't Hampshire County Council? It's not rocket science."

Another person told the Chronicle they were manhandled by staff because they had not booked a slot.

They said: "The rather elderly gentlemen in front of me was virtually in tears due to the attitude of the staff who would not let him in. As I drove to leave I saw the site was empty so stopped to unload.

"The security guard, who refused to provide ID and said his authority came "because I have a video camera on my chest", manhandled me so I had to leave the site.

"When I observed it was empty to the member of staff he said he had another seven cars coming in the next hour. The staff seemed delighted as they clearly had nothing to do with such a low level of activity."

Many who have complained say it is impossible to book a slot, as they are all taken.

Russell Taylor added: "It was a lovely surprise as I drove up to the centre to find only two cars waiting. I was then approached by the security guard and I explained that like the previous driver I had no idea that I had to book and could he please let me in when I had just driven several miles, not to mention spent ages loading my car.

"The answer was no, so I did a U-turn and left exasperated. When I got home I went online grudgingly to book a time to return to the centre and discovered that there are no visiting time slots left for the whole of June."

The Chronicle awaits a response from Hampshire County Council.