PEOPLE in Hampshire will be listened to over hugely controversial plans to close tips across the county, the leader of the council has said.

It comes as councillors continue to express concerns from residents about the plan to close the Bordon tip.

At Hampshire County Council’s annual general meeting on May 23, Cllr Andy Tree told of the concerns residents in Whitehill, Bordon and Lindford have over the possibility of losing the tip.

The proposal is part of the council’s saving strategy to create £90.4m savings, which could help the administration reduce its deficit gap of £132m by 2025/26.

Plans include increasing fees, changing how services are offered, suspending all non-statutory local bus and community transport, and removing school crossing patrols.

Several tips have also been earmarked for closure in the proposal to save £1.6m annually.

Household waste recycling centres in Alresford, Bishop’s Waltham, Fair Oak, Hartley Wintney and Hayling Island were found to be the most expensive to run by Hampshire County Council.

The sites in Aldershot, Bordon, Casbrook near Romsey, Hedge End, Marchwood, Petersfield, and Somerley are also at risk.

The councillor presented the county council a petition signed by more than 2,500 residents, with 1,846 signatures from addresses in Whitehill, Bordon, Lindford, Liphook, Liss, Greatham, Headley and Passfield showing their opposition to the potential decision to close the Bordon household waste recycling centre.

The petition closed with more than 5,600 signatures. This is not the only petition published since the plans were public. Hayling East Labour councillor Mark Coates also blasted the proposal to shut Hayling Island tip with his petition smashing more than 4,000 signatures.

At the county council’s AGM, Cllr Tree asked for reassurance for residents who “feel so let down that Hampshire County Council would even consider closing this facility”.

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The council leader, Cllr Nick Adams-King, said that the council is “grateful for all of the feedback“ received in the public consultation. However, he said the council is considering the findings before making a final decision, which will be made by cabinet later in the year. 

He reassured councillors that the residents’ views were being heard and that the council “would be doing the very best” to ensure that their concerns were listened to and their aspirations met, and quashed some people’s stance that the move could lead to an increase in fly-tipping.

Cllr Adams-King said: “The future services consultation, which includes proposals regarding household waste recycling centre provision, closed on March 31. 

“The results were published on May 8, and the findings will be carefully considered alongside other relevant factors, including operational, financial policy and legal considerations as planned to be drawn up for future service delivery. 

“The county councillor task and finish groups will shortly review the consultation documents and process and report to the county council’s cross-party select committees. Select committees will then review the consultation results and make recommendations to the cabinet. As a whole, we will then take a collective final decision. 

“We are really grateful for all of the feedback that we’ve received. We’re grateful for the petition you’ve given us, as we have from other people for many other sites. We have heard what people say, and we will be doing the very best we can to ensure that their concerns and their aspirations are met.”

Cllr Tree highlighted the possible increase of fly-tipping across the county if these tips are to be closed. However, the leader of the council said there is evidence across the country that fly-tipping has not increased “significantly” as a result of tips and that those who fly-tipped are unlicensed waste carriers who “trick people”.

“We have evidence that we know what has happened elsewhere in the country when household waste recycling centres have been closed,” he said.

“I am fortunate enough to come from a borough where we actively perceived fly-tippers, and we have in Test Valley an excellent history of successful prosecutions of people who’ve been fly-tipped. 

“What I can tell you that we’ve learned from that is that the people who take their rubbish to HWRCs are not the people who fly-tipped, and they will not be the people who would fly-tip if that were the case. 

“The people we find fly tip most regularly are unlicensed waste carriers who trick people into giving them their waste and then dump it because they know they can’t access recycling or waste centres.

“I completely understand there is a concern because that’s exactly where your thought process goes if we’re going to be closing the HWRCs, but what I can promise you is that wherever that is that happened elsewhere in the country, there’s not been a significant increase in fly-tipping.

“That comes from a very different source of people who try to avoid the correct process. They should be following the transfer of waste and taking people’s money to get rid of the waste in an appropriate way.”