A popular waste depot in Watford will close, it was confirmed today.

Hertfordshire County Council's cabinet this afternoon unanimously voted to shut the Wiggenhall Road Household Waste and Recycling Centre.

It is likely to close in February next year and the move will save £100,000 a year until 2013, and £150,000 a year thereafter.

Despite strong protests from residents and local councillors, their arguments to save the site fell on deaf ears as the county council aims to reduce its annual budget by more than £150million by 2014.

Proposals to close the site were first put forward in 2008. However, an offer of additional land from Watford Borough Council to expand and approve the site meant the plan was put on hold.

Two years later, however, both sides were unable to reach an agreement.

Hertfordshire were unhappy with a five-year break clause inserted into the 25-year lease – an issue Watford said was not a “deal breaker” - and found they could no longer afford the £350,000 costs to redevelop the depot site.

This was despite an offer of £100,000 from Watford, in additional to £40,000 that was spent to relocate WRAP (Watford Recycling Arts Project).

But ultimately, it was the ongoing revenue costs of the depot that has led to its closure.

Councillor Derrick Ashley, executive member for waste, said: “It's fair to say if we knew two years ago what we know now, we wouldn't be sitting here making this decision.

“The history of this has been fairly well rehearsed. A letter from Watford Borough Council outlines the £100,000 capital [offer] and attempted to clear up issues surrounding the lease. Having said that, quite frankly our main issue is one of revenue funding.

“There was always the ongoing revenue issue, even two years ago when we took the decision not to immediately close the site. I would suggest the revenue pressures we are under now, that's the prime consideration here. Even if the revenue pressures were not under consideration, there's still a considerable capital gap [to redevelop the site].”

Following the meeting, Councillor Derek Scudder, a county councillor and portfolio holder for environmental services at Watford Borough Council, took some satisfaction that Hertfordshire had “owned up” to their motivation behind the closure.

He said: “The real reason was to save revenue. I don't think they ever had any intention to keep it open. That's why they dragged their heels for so long. We could have completed negotiation a year ago.”

The decision to close Wiggenhall Road comes as the county council agreed to conduct a full review of household waste sites across Hertfordshire next year.

County councillor Stephen Giles-Medhurst (Central Oxhey) added: “It's the wrong decision at the wrong time for the wrong reason. They're conducting a review next year of all the sites. It's one of the few sites that could be expanded. They have ruled this one out forever and the residents of Watford and Three Rivers will be worse off.”

Councillor Scudder added: “A decision not to include Watford in the review is farcical and nonsensical.”

Meanwhile, county councillor Nigel Bell (Vicarage Holywell) described the decision as “sad and short-sighted”.

He said: “The people of West Watford and the surrounding area have been let down by the county council using the excuse of the Coalition Government's cuts agenda to do what they wanted to do two years ago, before residents and campaigners put a hold on the initial decision with petitions and protests.

“The prospect of fly-tipping and extra congestion as a result of this decision is now inevitable."