Controversial waste site plan thrown out

A plan to expand the use of a waste site, prompting fears about increased levels of lorry movements along narrow rural roads, has been thrown out by planners.

A plan to expand the use of a waste site, prompting fears about increased levels of lorry movements along narrow rural roads, has been thrown out by planners.

The plan to increase the use of the site at Spa Common, on the edge of North Walsham, sparked outrage when it was revealed in August.

The company involved, HFS, wanted to use the site as a non hazardous liquid waste transfer station taking liquids from various sources for processing, treatment and despatch.

A range of concerns locally were headed by the fact the plan could lead to a maximum of 48 extra lorry movements a day - on top of what is already a significant number of movements from current businesses including a nearby scrapyard.

HFS bosses insisted the number of lorries would be no more than used to be associated with a previous land use by Anglian Water Services. They have reacted to the refusal with disappointment and accused some campaigners of failing to deal in the facts.

A Norfolk County Council spokesman confirmed the plan had been refused on the grounds of highway safety and a lack of information about the potential risk of pollution.

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Polly Bowles, one of the main campaigners behind the battle to have the plan rejected, said: “We have nothing against HFS whatsoever, it is a good business which we wish well.

“But Spa Common is a small community with tiny roads and these extra tankers would have been dangerous to people and would have ruined the tranquillity and peace we all moved here for.

“I am so happy the county council has seen sense, I genuinely believe this will be the salvation of our community.”

Mrs Bowles said residents, especially of Spa Common but also of neighbouring North Walsham, had done everything in their power to battle the plan.

“When it emerged what was going on lots of people came out of the woodwork, wrote letters, did traffic surveys, came to meetings and distributed leaflets.”

Pat Ford, a North Walsham district councillor, said: “I think it is wonderful that such a very small community has got so passionately involved in this issue.

“The lanes are far too narrow and it is a very built up area.

“It is good to see a business expand but this would have been in the wrong place because of the highways issue.”

Town councillor Ellen Grover said the battle had seen a “wonderful unification” of a community.

“They have truly shown a Dunkirk spirit, people who didn't know each other are now friends,” said Mrs Grover.

“And at the end of it all they have got the right result.”

County council spokesman Kate Gooding said: “The roads serving the development are considered to be inadequate due to their width and construction.

“It is felt the proposal would be detrimental to highway safety.

“There is also not enough evidence about the potential risk of pollution to controlled waters.”

HFS spokesman Barry Munson said that all the way through the process the business had maintained the truth and backed this up with facts and documents.

“The facts we submitted have been confirmed to the objectors by independent bodies they contacted or information they have seen for themselves, the results from which they chose to ignore and not share.

“The applicant must only deal in facts, not so if you are an objector, where you can choose what information you share with the wider public to ensure you sell the story that you want.”

Mr Munson said some letters from objectors “neglected to leave in the facts” and added he felt the decision had been rushed by the council to meet a government deadline set for deciding the application.