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DONCASTER WINS COURT HEARING IN BID TO SHUT WASTE PLANT

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Case no: CO/2622/95 ...
Case no: CO/2622/95

Doncaster MBC has weighed in behind Finningley residents in a bid to force immediate closure of a waste reprocessing plant on the village outskirts.

A high court hearing yesterday granted the council leave to mount a full high court appeal against an inspector's decision on the case.

The council had in January ordered Tipping Services (Construction) Ltd to cease bringing inert waste onto the 11-acre field off Wroot Road, Finningley, before reprocessing it to be sold on.

But the council's enforcement notice was in July overturned by an environment ministry planning inspector who gave the company a two-year temporary planning permission to continue with its controversial activities.

Patrick Hamlin, for the council, told London's high court yesterday that the inspector's decision flew in the face of the environment ministry's own guidelines and local residents' concerns.

'The material considerations appear simply to have slipped his mind', he said.

And, after a brief hearing, Mr Justice Popplewell granted the council leave to mount a full high court appeal against the inspector's decision.

The 11-acre field has been used for extracting sand, gravel and building materials since 1958, and there is an extant planning permission for the quarry to be in-filled with inert waste.

But what the council objects to is Tipping Services' use of the land for importing waste, re-processing it, and selling it on.

In his decision letter the planning inspector said that many local people had written to complain of noise, dust, traffic problems and the unsightliness of the site.

He went on: 'I am in no doubt that a permanent planning permission should not be granted for the re-processing of waste materials on this land.'

The field, situated just to the north east of Finningley, is just 300 metres north of the recently-built Gatesbridge Park housing estate, and the inspector said the noise of machinery was 'clearly audible' at a nearby home, though it was not 'unduly loud'.

Wroot Road, the inspector added, was 'inadequate for significant volumes of HGVs' and locals feared that heavy lorries would have to rumble through Finningley and Blaxton to gain access to the site.

'It was the proper intention of the council to have the land quickly restored to be more in keeping with rural or agricultural uses, rather than sanctioning a long-term poor neighbour industrial plant close to housing', he observed.

And if permanent planning permission were granted, local residents would be subjected to 'uncontrolled' HGV movements to and from the site.

'I conclude that the proximity to housing, countryside location, and the inadequacy of the local highway network make the site unsuited to permanent development as a re processing site for waste materials', said the inspector.

But he went on to say that he was 'not persuaded' by the council's plea that the business should be 'shut down almost immediately'.

The site seemed well-managed, it provided local employment, and re-cycling waste was environmentally useful.

'I consider it would be reasonable to allow re-processing to continue for two years', concluded the inspector, over-turning the council's enforcement notice and granting temporary planning consent for two years so as to allow the business to be 'gradually run down'.

Mr Justice Popplewell did not set a date for the hearing of the council's appeal against the inspector's ruling.

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