COUNCILLORS have voted to support plans to save more than £19 million that could see up to half of Hampshire’s recycling centres closed and school crossing patrols lost.

Following months of public consultation, Hampshire County Council officers have suggested millions of pounds 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.

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

The majority of councillors at the economy, transport and environment select committee voted to recommend the proposals to cabinet, with the exception of the three Liberal Democrat councillors Rupert Kyrle, Martin Tod and David Simpson.

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

Defending his decision to vote against the plans, Mr Simpson said: “It only takes one child to run into the road because there wasn’t a crossing patrol there.”

Concerns were also raised by a number of councillors about which of the county’s recycling centre could be closed, with Cllr Michael White, who represents Lymington, said: “Losing our site will only result in more fly-tipping.”

However defending the planned savings, Conservative councillor Stephen Philpott said: “We’ve certainly got some difficult decisions to make. I think this is a very sensible set of proposals, I think this is about the best we can do.”

Council leader Roy Perry also defended the decisions.He said: “We have been reporting for some time now that opportunities for reducing costs are getting harder to find.“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.”

The proposals follow a public consultation which saw nearly 4,000 responses. The consultation found changes to local services was the least preferred option (50%), while two thirds (67%) would support money to be made through raising or bringing in new charges to help cover costs. The proposals will now be put to the county council’s cabinet on Monday, October 16, with a final decision being made on November 2. Further consultations with residents and stakeholders will then be conducted where necessary.