Anger has greeted the "short sighted" closure of a recycling centre.

Hertfordshire County Council's new contractor AmeyCespa suggested the closure of the Elstree centre, along with reduced opening times for remaining centres, as part of a raft of proposals to cut costs.

Users have criticised the plans, but some fear the fate of the centre has already been decided.

Kate Curran of Radlett believes the facility is much needed. She said: “I think it would be very short sighted of the county council to close a recycling facility that is so well used. Surely it would only result in more fly-tipping or possibly making a new area for a new travellers’ site?”

Radlett resident Clive Glover fears the council is “merely going through the motions” and has already decided on the outcome of the consultation.

A spokesperson for Hertfordshire County Council said: "A contractor has been appointed to run the service and their suggested service changes are the subject of this consultation.  No decisions around service changes have been made. The results of the consultation will be presented to Members of Hertfordshire County Council. Members will review and consider the results of the consultation before making any decisions regarding service changes."  

The consultation states that around 99 per cent of all residents would still be able to reach a household waste centre within 20 minutes of their homes, the nearest being the Cranbourne Road site in Potters Bar.

Thomas Ash, of Banks Road, said: “I would challenge any Officer of Hertfordshire County Council to drive from the centre of Elstree to the Recycling Point in Potters Bar in 15 minutes while observing the law and Highway Code - it is impossible.

“To safely drive that journey off peak would take 25 minutes at least. At peak times it takes me 25 to 30 minutes to drive from Elstree to Borehamwood, so quite how you get to Potters Bar from Elstree in 28 minutes in beggars belief. Again it is frankly fanciful.”

Hertsmere Borough Council leader Morris Bright and Elstree councillor Harvey Cohen hope to encourage residents to share their views and prevent the closure.

Cllr Bright said: “I feel very strongly about this. I understand the need to save money but that is not the way to do it.

“I don’t believe that closing the centre will result in more fly-tipping - but what I am concerned about is that residents will start putting their recyclables into black bins and sending them to landfill. The council want to push their green policies yet want to close a centre for recycling, which seems immoral."

Cllr Cohen added: “We’re not against change or against cuts, but there are other options. The service is open eight hours a day, seven days a week. It doesn’t need to be open that many hours a day, so why not reduce its hours?”

The councillors have launched a petition against the proposed closure and have already had a number of people volunteer to help.

Staff at the centre have also agreed to put petitions up at the gates and encourage people who use the centre to sign them.

To find out more information and give your views, visit the council website or to join the campaign, like the Facebook page and sign the petition.

Results of the consultation will be presented to the highways and waste management panel on September 19 and then to the council's cabinet for a final decision on September 22.