CAMPAIGNERS hoping to overturn plans to expand one of the UK’s largest materials recovery facilities near Calne have lost their battle.

Swindon-based Hills Group has won planning consent for five applications that could see a massive expansion of activity in Calne and Lower Compton.

Mike Hill, chief executive of Hills Group, said the approvals, which may be subject to a judicial review, would now enable the company and Wiltshire Council to plan ahead.

He said: “Hills is pleased that the planning authority has recognised the strategic importance of the Sands Farm and Lower Compton sites in the delivery of waste and recycling services to the residents of Wiltshire and the two sites’ wider benefit to the local economy.

“The approval of these five plans includes an internal link road between the Sands Farm and Lower Compton sites, reducing the impact that vehicles associated with Hills’ operations have on Calne town centre.

“We look forward to working with the planning authority and other agencies in the implementation of these permissions and will keep local residents updated as the project progresses.”

Residents who protested against the schemes said the consents would result in a 39 per cent rise in HGV movements on the outskirts of Calne which the feared could affect air quality, increase pollution and lead to more accidents.

Compton Bassett resident Jennie Brooks, of the 400-strong Calne & District SOS, told Wiltshire Council’s strategic planning committee on Wednesday: “This lack of regard for our homes, our families, our health and our businesses is not acceptable.

“The effect on the amenity of residents in Lower Compton, Oxford Road and Sand Pit Road of relentless daily HGV movements will be damaging to health, property and homes for many years to come and could expose the council to potential future litigation.”