THE public’s views on the biggest planning battle in the county were heard for the first time today as a leading politician threatened to derail plans for a rubbish burner.
Former Stroud Labour MP David Drew, speaking on behalf of Stonehouse Town Council, issued a threat that Stroud District Council won’t use it if it gets planning permission.
“This is something that SDC has started to explore and whilst I earnestly hope that such a drastic course of action will not be necessary they could be faced with no other option,” he said at the inquiry in to Urbaser Balfour Beatty’s plans for a £500million incinerator at Javelin Park in Haresfield.
The county council as a waste planning authority, backs the plans but the same council’s planners are defending the decision of the councillors’ to refuse planning permission. The inquiry is expected to cost around £1million.
It is being held in an outbuilding of the Hallmark Hotel, Matson where high-powered legal eagles and a planning inspector today sat beneath Christmas lights, around what is usually a dance floor.
Earlier Mr Drew told inspector Brian Cook the town council was against the burner on grounds of health, transport, visual impact, need and lack of consultation.
He feared the B4008 would be used as a rat run for lorries delivering rubbish there.
“We have had a lorry ban in place since the opening up of a full junction at junction 12 on the M5,” he said.
“Quite simply this ban is a joke for every day we get all manner of HGVs that make their way along the B4008.”
The 48 metre-high chimney would highlight a huge building on the 3.1 hectare site in the middle of the Severn Vale, he said.
“The stack and plant will forever change this part of the vale and we feel this area has already made enough sacrifices,” he said.
Evidence was heard from a wide range of consultees, including Stroud MP Neil Carmichael, Stroud mayor Amanda Moriarty and Quedgeley Parish Council chairman Graham Smith.
“The proposed design, size and bulk of the building does not take into account the fact it is on the edge of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is not in keeping with the area,” Mr Carmichael submitted to the inquiry. “The potential for significant impact on views out of the Cotswolds AONB is clearly a matter of planning consideration.
“Furthermore, there seems to have been rather inappropriate comparisons made by UBB in terms of visual impact with the Blooms Garden Centre and other associated existing buildings.”