Debate on Compton Bassett landfill site halted at last minute (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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Debate on Compton Bassett landfill site halted at last minute
Campaigners have expressed their shock after plans to extend a landfill site were withdrawn fom the agenda days before a decision was due to be made.
An error in a Wiltshire Council planning officer’s report was blamed for the decision to withdraw temporarily the application by Hills Waste to expand and continue operations at its Compton Bassett landfill site.
The application, first put out for consultation two years ago, was due to be discussed at a county council strategic planning meeting today.
The decision to withdraw it from the agenda was announced through an email sent at 2pm on Monday.
It said: “Since publication of the agenda, a material error has been identified in the officer report. The error relates to the matter of air quality and the associated recommendation.
“Having taking advice from the solicitor to the council, the item cannot now be considered at the meeting.”
Hills handles all the residual waste for Wiltshire, runs 11 household waste recycling centres in the county and operates kerbside recycling collections.
The county council has received 214 letters of objection to the plan and the planning officer’s report had recommended refusal.
Campaigner Anne Henshaw said she couldn’t understand why the report, which was 66 pages long and took six months to write, could be withdrawn at short notice.
She said: “Objectors were told that this application was to be heard before local elections in May. It was delayed. It was then to be heard later in the summer, it was further delayed. The application itself was first put forward for local consultation two years ago.
“What is this material error which was made? Why, when the report has been in writing for six months, was this not gone through by the legal department months ago?
“Who, under what instruction, suddenly finds a material error in a report which is recommending refusal for an application made by the Wiltshire Council monopoly waste disposal contractor and at two days’ notice?”
Some Wiltshire councillors said they were frustrated to miss the chance to make a decision.
Coun Glenis Ansell is chairman of the Calne area board’s air quality working group.
She said: “Everyone has been working really hard to get their case together for the meeting.
“I am sad that it’s been pulled at the last minute, because it was very last minute. Whatever the reason, if it needs to be postponed it’s much better to have to do the job properly.”
Wiltshire councillor Alan Hill said: “If there is an error it would be wrong to hear the application because someone would point out the error.
“What the error is and how it occurred I have no idea. It’s taken two years to get this far, it’s a nuisance, but there’s nothing we can do about it.”
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