Controversial waste site approved despite widespread opposition in villages

The Waste King site location (Google)

The Waste King site location (Google)

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A retrospective planning application for a major waste processing and recycling centre near Cheddington was today approved by councillors, despite fierce opposition in surrounding villages over HGV movements.

The scheme by Waste King, who have occupied Unit 25B Marsworth Airfield North Site since 2014, was unanimously voted through by Bucks County Council’s Development Control Committee.

The company now has permission to formally change the use of the land from the parking of empty skips to waste storage and sorting, allowing it to receive up to 25,000 tonnes per year of mixed construction and demolition waste including metal, wood and concrete that would be sorted into different materials for recycling at other facilities.

The remaining waste would be passed through a trommel and a picking station.

Under the plan there will now be a maximum of 40 lorry movements per day (20 in, 20 out), and the site would operate 7.30am – 5.30pm Mondays to Fridays, 7.30am – 12noon Saturdays and no operation on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

Waste King say they will enter a routeing agreement which would see HGVs pass along Long Marston Road, Station Road then joining the B488, avoiding the centre of Cheddington – and Bucks Highways have deemed the route as acceptable. Additionally, lorries would be GPS tracked to ensure they keep to the agreed route.

Representatives from numerous villages, including action group CALM (Campaign Against Lorry Menace) had argued the application had be rejected as the current road network and infrastructure of the surrounding communities offered inadequate support for any additional HGV or very large skip lorry movements.

Councils in Marsworth, Ivinghoe, Mentmore, Slapton, Wingrave with Rowsham, and Tring, all registered concerns or objections to the application – but county councillors supported the company.

Planning officer Gemma Crossley said the application’s approval would put a cap on the HGV movements, whereas if the plan was turned down the company would not be able to operate as a waste transfer centre, but would revert to operating under a certificate of lawful use for light industry, with no restriction on lorry movements.

Pier Thomas, of campaign group (C.A.L.M), told the committee that two previous planning applications for increasing the number of lorry movements by different companies were rejected by Bucks County Council a decade ago .

One firm appealed, only to have the decision upheld by a Goverment planning inspector in 2008 due to the impact on local roads and communities.

She said: “We in the villages know the roads are in a worse condition than 10 years ago.”

She also questioned if Bucks County Council currently enforced any lorry movement restrictions on other companies at the site.

Richard Brake, chairman of Mentmore Parish Council agreed. He told the council: “There will be no enforcement of the route, you have no means to do it.

“This is a small industrial site, with an inadequate road network.”

Peter Brazier, of Mentmore Parish Council told the committee thousands of local parishioners would suffer if the plan was supported. He agreed that routeing would not be adhered to, or enforced by the county council.

“Light industrial and storage would not generate anything like 40 [HGV movements] a day,” he said.

Waste King says it has an existing customer base in and around the Buckinghamshire and that the waste is collected typically from within a 10-mile radius of the application site.

Co-owner Andy Cattigan told the meeting that Waste King was a successful, well-managed community-minded company with a £2.6m turnover, that employed 30 local people.

He said the firm used the latest GPS tracking software and if a lorry went into a ‘forbidden zone’ and email alert would be sent to the owners and his customer service team. He said he was happy to share data with the council.

He said there was currently an daily average of 28 lorry movements.

“We are a still a small business – 40 movements, that is achievable, but we are not looking at growing the business, we are looking to perfect it.”

Cllr Janet Blake (Great Brickhill) said: “It is unrestricted at the moment, I don’t understand how controlling vehicle movements will worsen things.”

Cllr Roger Reed (Denham) added: “It has to be better than having an unrestricted site, but I can understand residents’ concerns.”

Cllr Anne Wight (Ivinghoe) said HGVs deemed to be on local deliveries could get out of routeing agreements.

She said approval would excaberate safety hazards on village roads and that Brownlow Bridge was under investigation following a fatal accident.