CONTROVERSIAL proposals to slash funding from vital services and shut up half of the county’s recycling centres have been discussed.

Following months of public consultation, Hampshire County Council officers have suggested almost £20m could be saved by the tabled cuts which could see school crossing patrols (£1.2m), subsidised bus services and community transport (combined £4m) lose their entire funding pot.

The proposed cuts are part of a plan by the county council to address an anticipated budget shortfall of £140m by April 2019.

And they also suggest that £1.2m could be saved by closing household waste recycling centres – £100,000 per site – and amending the hours of the rest.

The council has not confirmed which sites are threatened.

Conservative council leader Roy Perry has defended the council’s decision to make these “tough decisions”.

“We have been reporting for some time now, that opportunities for reducing costs are getting harder to find,” he said.

“With less money available and growing demand for council services, tough decisions are having to be made about what the county council can and cannot do in the future.

“Residents have told us that they continue to support our financial strategy which has involved targeting resources to those who need them most; planning ahead and securing savings early.

“To date, this approach has helped the county council to invest in new, more efficient ways of working and has helped to minimise the impact on frontline services as far as possible.

“However, we now have to consider more radical ways of making ends meet.

“Inevitably, this will involve changes to the way services are delivered, and further reductions in our workforce.

“It is too early to predict what the precise impact will be, as plans are still evolving and further public consultation will be needed.

“Despite this financial challenge, the county council remains one of the strongest local authorities in the country - delivering some of the best public services to Hampshire’s 1.3 million residents, and providing good value for money.”

Proposals to deliver this latest round of anticipated savings will be discussed in a committee meeting next week and then considered by the county council’s cabinet on Monday, 16 October.

A final decision will then be made on November 2, followed by a number of further consultations with residents and stakeholders, where necessary.