PLANS to close waste recycling centres on Thursdays, cut their hours on other days of the week and charge “outsiders” to use them have come under fire from East Hampshire District Council leader Ferris Cowper.

He said of the county council plans: “This is a basic frontline service popular with our residents and to cut it back so dramatically is a very poor decision indeed. The county council asked people for their views, discovered that more than 90 per cent wanted the centres kept open – and then promptly ignored them.

“It is also ironic that this comes at a time when councils are urging people to recycle more than they do at present.”

The cutbacks come at a time when the county council has just embarked on an eight week consultation on devolution – the process under which more power will be handed from central to local government.

Mr Cowper said: “This is incredibly embarrassing for the county council which wants to play the lead role in devolution despite councils like our own saying it is not the best way forward.

“Last week the county announced it was closing a children’s centre in Petersfield (and Bordon) and stopping the mobile library service to outlying villages like Buriton. Residents are entitled to ask themselves whether services are safe in their hands.”