THE TOP two men in the district council chamber are united in dismay over plans to close two of East Hampshire’s tips.

EHDC Leader Cllr Richard Millard and deputy, Cllr Andy Tree, have put their political differences aside to oppose the possible closure of the Petersfield and Bordon waste and recycling centres.

As reported last week, the centres are two of 12 that could be closed as Hampshire County Council seeks to plug a £132million budget shortfall. The Alresford and Aldershot centres could also be binned in a raft of cuts labelled “staggering” by Cllr Tree.

The pair released a joint statement early this week saying how dismayed and worried they are about how the cuts could affect the district’s residents. 

The duo added they are committed in “trying to find solutions to mitigate” the cuts, largely down to years of ever-decreasing central government funding.

The waste and recycling service is one of 13 facing cuts with proposals being outlined in a public consultation. Councillors Millard and Tree have urged residents to give up 15 minutes and take part in the online survey, arguably one of the county’s most important in recent years.

The pair said: “We do not want to see the closures of the Petersfield and Bordon HWRCs, especially as we want to see recycling increased.

“We encourage all East Hampshire residents to response to the HCC consultation to ensure our voice is heard.”

There are concerns about the impact the possible closures could have on fly-tipping. The county council doesn’t believe there would be a rise in dumping, but it’s worth noting that cleaning-up fly-tipping is a district council responsibility.

The HCC report states: “It is often suggested that changes to HWRC services such as charges, reduced opening hours, or closures would lead to an increase in fly-tipping.

“However, where other local authorities have closed sites or reduced opening hours, there is no evidence to suggest this is true.

"Our experience in Hampshire suggests fly-tipping is mainly carried out by criminal organisations looking to avoid charges for disposal, rather than householders.”

The HCC budget is facing “immense pressure” according to leader Cllr Rob Humby with the council’s reserves being all but exhausted. He said Hampshire is in a better position than many authorities, but warned there would soon be not enough money to go around unless drastic changes are made.

He said: “He said: “Delivering local services in future is much harder with much less money available, which is a problem faced by councils nationally, and one which local government cannot address on its own. 

“We are continuing to press for a better, long-term national funding solution from central Government to address these issues, but we cannot sit back and wait for that to happen.”

The consultation runs until March 31 and can be completed through vices-consultation   

Responses can also be emailed directly to HCC through [email protected]