SOMERSET County Council has rubberstamped £34million worth of cuts, which will affect local libraries, recycling centres, youth clubs, bus routes and the arts.

Protesters descended on County Hall last Wednesday, but were unable to stop the authority formally approving cuts including £1.35million from libraries, £2.25million from youth services and £3.6million over three years from reduced bus subsidies.

The leader of the Labour group on the county council, Andrew Govier, said it was a “dark day” for Somerset, but the leader of the ruling Conservative group, Ken Maddock, pointed to job-creating projects like Hinkley Point C as evidence that better times lie ahead.

The effect of the cuts on local services will include:

· Seven fixed speed cameras to be turned off in Sedgemoor from March 1

· The household waste recycling centre in Greylake, near Middlezoy, could close, while the centres at Saltlands Avenue, Bridgwater, and Isleport Business Park, Highbridge, will close on Wednesdays and Thursdays and have shorter opening hours.

· Bridgwater and Burnham libraries will have reduced opening hours, while Highbridge library could close from September unless it is taken over by the community. North Petherton and Nether Stowey libraries have been given another year of funding to give the communities time to take them over.

· Some youth centres - including Rollercoaster in Bridgwater - have had funding cut, while groups in Nether Stowey, Wedmore, Lympsham and Stogursey will continue to be funded while the council tries to find community support.

· Bridgwater Arts Centre will lose more than £10,000. Director Charlie Dearden branded the council's decision to scrap all arts funding as “extremely short-sighted”.

· No decisions have yet been taken on which bus routes will be affected.

ON the same day, Sedgemoor District Council announced its own cost-cutting measures totalling £1.4million.

Savings will come from sharing accommodation at Bridgwater House with the county council, a recruitment freeze, cutting some jobs, monitoring CCTV less often, and asking town and parish councils to consider taking on certain services.

Sedgemoor District Council, like Avon and Somerset Police Authority, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service and Somerset County Council, has frozen its portion of next year's council tax bill.

But Bridgwater Town Council has raised its precept by £3.50 on a band D property.

Town clerk Alan Hurford said: “We are picking up additional costs from Sedgemoor, including street cleaning, dog bins, halls and community centres.”

Mr Hurford said the council was also in negotiations with the district council about taking over Bridgwater town hall.