Planning Committee 21/10/2010 – Compost in Clatterbridge (Part 2)

The next item on the agenda was an application for a green waste composting area, vehicle accessway and site office in Clatterbridge.

This application also had a petition against it of 78 people, which was received late on Monday. Sue Smith spoke on behalf of the petitioners and mentioned Monday’s site visit. She talked about the animal life and that there was more traffic at other times of day. Over the last 11 years there had been eight fatalities and she saw traffic and noise as two of the reasons why the petitioners were objecting.

She pointed out that the application was for 10,000 tons/year which would equate to 32 bin lorries/week. She was against the concreting and tarmaccing of the Green Belt and asked if the Planning Committee had received her letter of objection. She pointed out the woodland on the site and that she wanted the site to remain green. She said she wanted it to be green belt land, not green waste land.

The agent then spoke and pointed out that it was a small green waste business with two owner-operators which had been seven years in business. He added that if the application was approved that the business would take on an extra employee. He thought the proposal would benefit the rural landscape, reduce the pressure of landfill and that agriculture was an appropriate use and associated activity in the Green Belt. He said the compost would be spread on the surrounding 179 acre farm, which was heavy clay soil. This would give the farmer greater yields and be used as a soil improver. Over six weeks the volume of green waste would reduce by over 50% and over a ten-year period, the compost would raise the height of the land by no more than two inches. It would not be open to the public who would be free to use the Council’s sites. He also mentioned that the Environment Agency would have to grant a licence and that a benefit would be the reduction in carbon emissions.

Cllr Jerry Williams then addressed the committee. He pointed out that the application would lead to an increase in traffic and that nearby stables meant the surrounding roads were used heavily by horses. He pointed out that the area looks onto Storeton Village and referred to the site’s opening hours. He said there had been no environmental assessment done and that his main concerns were environmental damage and highways issues.

The Chair then opened it up to debate by committee members asking for a response from officers on the three issues of speed, noise and road traffic accident history. An officer replied that on this C-road national speed limits applied which meant a speed limit of 60mph or 40mph for heavier vehicles. He pointed out the application improved access to the site as well as space to turn. A map was shown to the committee of known traffic accidents in the locality. The officer said the rate of accidents was similar to other roads in the area.

Regarding noise, they had measured the noise of the shredding equipment as heard from the nearest property 800m away. A noise of 78db on site was heard as only 37db at the nearest property which was classed as acceptable.

Cllr Gilchrist commented on the landscaping and the variety of species. He also asked what the hedge around the development would be (the answer being hawthorn). Cllr Johnston asked if any of the compost produced would be taken away or whether it would all be spread on the surrounding land. The answer was that the farmer would be using the product produced.

Cllr Elderton asked about the number of traffic movements a day this would produce. The answer given by an officer was 3 or 4 a day.

The Chair said it had been an interesting site visit and that the site couldn’t be seen from the village because of the lie of the land. The Chair (Cllr Mitchell) moved approval. Cllr Salter seconded it. Eleven councillors voted for the application and one voted against, so it was approved.

Author: John Brace

New media journalist from Birkenhead, England who writes about Wirral Council. Published and promoted by John Brace, 134 Boundary Road, Bidston, CH43 7PH. Printed by UK Webhosting Ltd t/a Tsohost, 113-114 Buckingham Avenue, Slough, Berkshire, England, SL1 4PF.