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Hampshire residents to pay £7 to use West Berkshire tips from August

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NORTH Hampshire residents will be required to pay £7 per visit to use the Newtown Road and Padworth tips in West Berkshire from August.

The new system is set to be introduced next month after Hampshire County Council plans to build a new household waste recycling centre (HWRC) in the north of the county were ruled out due to feasibility issues.

The online booking system will continue as normal, with the only difference being that North Hampshire residents will be separated into a different lane and asked to pay by card when they arrive.

Newtown Road Household Waste Recycling Centre Ref: 27-2716B
Newtown Road Household Waste Recycling Centre Ref: 27-2716B

The system will be enforced through a new number plate recognition system, and there will be no limit on bookings.

The initiative comes after the county council voted to stop paying West Berkshire Council around £170,000 a year which allowed Hampshire residents to use West Berkshire tips.

Hampshire County Council is likely to confirm the plans in a meeting tomorrow (Thursday) at 2pm as well as confirming that it will contribute up to £20,000 towards the installation of the new systems at the HWRCs.

West Berkshire Council’s executive member for the environment Steve Ardagh-Walter said the £7 fee covered Hampshire residents’ share of running costs.

He said: “We’re very conscious we need to be fair to both non-residents and West Berkshire residents who pay for running the overall service.

“That £7 is basically the cost of a visit.

“People can carry on booking as they would normally, and the only difference is that we’ll ask non-residents to pay when they arrive.”

On whether he would consider the £7 steep, Mr Ardagh-Walter said: “Inevitably there are always people who grumble, certainly with council matters and waste.

“Obviously it will be unwelcome for some, but I think the choice of paying £7 and having a short journey, versus saving £7 and spending much more time – it’ll make sense to many people.

“It’s a good step forward.”

The development could put an end to a long-running dispute between the councils over allowing North Hampshire residents to visit West Berkshire tips.

In September 2016, Hampshire County Council withdrew its £200,000 a year funding which allowed residents living in Hampshire to use West Berkshire HWRC facilities, causing West Berkshire Council to implement a permit scheme restricting access to their HWRCs to West Berkshire residents.

Four months later, the county council paid the district council £170,000 to allow Basingstoke and Deane residents living close to the Newtown Road tip to continue using the site for 12 months, with permits issued to those eligible.

This transition scheme continued until last summer, when the county council and Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council agreed to split the bill, thus allowing the county council to explore the possibility of creating a new HWRC in the north of the county.

When this was deemed to be unfeasible, the county council decided to cut its payments for good, placing the financial burden onto the residents.

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