A team of specialist planning experts has been brought in by Gloucestershire County Council to ensure the process to build the county's new incinerator is done 'by the book.'
The council has already received over 1,000 comments so far on the plans for an incinerator at Javelin Park submitted by Urbaser Balfour Beatty during the summer.
The high-profile application is for an energy from waste facility on the site, which is in Haresfield just off the M5 motorway.
The council says it is aware of the significant public interest in this application and has employed 'independent planning experts' BPP Consulting to help with the planning process and to make sure everything is 'done by the book.'
The council says it is confident it has the expertise within its planning team to deal with the application and its top planning officer continues lead on the case.
However, a spokesdman said the consultants will be able to provide additional checks and balances to ensure that all aspects of the application have been thoroughly tested and considered before a recommendation is made to the planning committee.
Councillor Jeremy Hilton, leader of the Liberal Democrats in Gloucestershire said: “The decision to appoint independent planning experts may well help with the planning process, but it will not reassure those members of the public who are against the Javelin Park waste facility.
“It is also important that members of the public know exactly how much extra employing BPP Consulting will cost in conducting additional checks and balances to an already unwanted county incinerator.”
The application is currently going through the second round of formal consultation and has taken almost a year to get to this stage.
It is hoped, the application will be ready for determination by the planning committee in January 2013.
Duncan Jordan, Chief Operating Officer, said: “There’s no question that this application has attracted a lot of public interest and while we do have the expertise within our own team, BPP can offer extra reassurance to everyone concerned.
“BPP is a respected independent company with a lot of experience in this area.
“I’m confident they will be able to work with us to ensure this application is dealt with properly all the way through.”
The council says it has a duty to bring a planning application to determination stage as expediently as possible.
A cross-party committee of councillors will judge the application when it reaches determination stage.
A provisional date for the planning committee meeting has been set for Thursday, January 17, 2013 however this is not confirmed yet. If the second round of consultation raises further issues that need more consideration, a third round of consultation may need to take place, which would then delay consideration of the application.