ROMEY’S tip could be saved as civic chiefs table plans to charge non-county residents wanting to dump waste at the facility.

Those who do not live in the area will need to pay £5 each time they use the Bunny Lane site, as well as Hampshire’s other 23 centres, as the authority looks to balance the books because the “cost of managing household waste continues to rise”.

The future of the Casbrook Common centre was put at risk last year when council bosses debated shutting up to half the sites across the county.

This would have left people in Romsey having to travel to Eastleigh to get to their nearest dump, or possibly even further.

The centre had seen charges introduced and its opening hours cut to prevent its closures after public outcry last year.

But now the recycling centre could be saved as part of the new proposals, due to be given the go-ahead on October 29.

Civic chiefs estimate that it costs the council £500,000 each year to process waste brought in by non-residents and these charges will help keep the tips open.

Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) barrier systems will be used, only allowing free access for vehicles registered to Hampshire addresses.

Cllr Rob Humby, the county council’s environment and transport chief, said: “I want to be fair to Hampshire council taxpayers which is why we are looking at the potential of non-Hampshire residents contributing to the cost of this service. HWRCs are the most efficient and cost effective way of recycling and it’s important that we do everything we can to maintain our network of sites.”

The council adds that, depending on their location, some HWRCs have significant use by non-Hampshire residents.

County councillor for Romsey Mark Cooper, who fought for the retention of the Bunny Lane site on the outskirts of the town, said: “This is problematic as £5 is a significant amount and patently designed to discourage cross-county boundary waste disposal.

“Presently, a number of Hampshire residents living near the county boundary will use HWRCs in neighbouring authorities. Those authorities will respond in kind.

“That means residents may have to travel further to use their ‘own’ currently free HWRC. Longer journeys means more fuel use and more greenhouse gas generation which will partly offset the benefit of recycling.”

The authority is also proposing a £15 administration fee for van and trailer permits. Commercial vehicles from anywhere can continue to use Hampshire HWRCs on a chargeable basis.