Waste plant challenge

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A CONTROVERSIAL decision to grant planning approval for a waste composting plant is to be challenged at London’s High Court.

Derbyshire County Council ignored overwhelming public opinion 12 months ago when it approved Sita UK’s application for a composting plant at Arkwright Town near Chesterfield.

If the plant is completed on the site of the former Arkwright Colliery it will be used to recycle 40,000 tonnes of garden and kitchen waste collected each year from kerbsides in Chesterfield, Bolsover and North East Derbyshire.

More than 1,000 residents signed a petition opposing the scheme last year. NE Derbyshire District Council and Sutton-cum-Duckmanton Parish Council objected on the grounds of it being an inappropriate rural location, citing traffic and the impact on residents’ amenity.

Arkwright Town resident Bill Bosson has applied for a judicial review of the decision. The High Court has agreed to an oral hearing on March 4 to decide whether a full judicial review can go ahead.

Sutton-cum-Duckmanton Parish Council has backed Mr Bosson’s application - and slammed the county council’s decision to hire an expensive barrister for the hearing, at a time of deep spending cuts.

The entire population of Arkwright Town was evacuated and relocated because of problems with methane gas from old workings after the colliery closed in 1988.

Residents have long campaigned for the colliery to be restored for public use and say the new plans will pose a huge disruption.

Parish council chairman Norman Hough said: “It just does not make sense what the county council is doing, other than an obsession to stick with this facility at Arkwright at any cost. The feeling of local people is so strong. This community has suffered enough.

“We are 100 per cent against the facility on that site, with the prospect of up to 44 lorries a day carrying waste into an industrial-scale development with the associated nuisances.”