TALKS will be held with Hampshire council over its proposals to charge Dorset residents to use its Somerley household recycling centre.

The meeting is expected to be held before the end of August.

Hampshire has threatened to either make Dorset residents register to use the site and then charge them either per visit, or on an annual basis – or to recover the estimated cost from Dorset Council.

The option of Dorset Council paying from next April for a period of two years has already been backed by members of its Place committee who argued that it would be unfair to make residents either effectively pay twice to dispose of their rubbish, or to drive to the nearest Dorset household recycling centre at Wimborne.

But last Tuesday deputy council chairman Councillor Peter Wharf asked cabinet to defer the decision while talks are held with Hampshire.

“We have taken the view it would not be prudent to make a decision while there is still a chance to discuss it with Hampshire county council …we will meet with their leader and discuss this and a number of other issues relating to the two councils,” he said.

Councillors had previously been told that although more than £60,000 a year had been promised to the Hampshire council for Dorset residents to use the Somerley site, the money had never been paid.

Hampshire council say that more than half the users of their site come from surrounding areas – with 20,000 Dorset households within a five-mile radius of the site.

More than 1500 responses to a survey showed that 46 per cent of respondents visit Somerley at least once a month; 86 per cent are depositing bulky items that cannot fit into a bin while 59 per cent of respondents say they will add more waste to their kerbside bins if they were no longer allowed to use the site, or had to pay extra.

The estimated bill for seven Dorset post codes to use the Somerley site has been put at under £200,000 a year, for homes within a five-mile radius £285,000 a year.