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Residents claim "dismissive" approach to recycling concerns

Created on 08/11/2018 @ 08:45
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By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporter

Protestors against a bulk waste facility to be built on the outskirts of Abermule are angry with the dismissive approach being taken over their complaints.

In August the facility, which would be 13.4metres high, was given planning permission by just one vote.

Since then villagers have formed a protest group, Abermule Communities Together (ACT), to fight the Powys County Council’s scheme.

They are now set to meet two Mid and West Wales regional Assembly Members to make their feelings against the scheme known.

At the moment the protests are falling on deaf ears at County Hall and a letter by deputy chief executive David Powell, explaining the merits of the project, has further angered the protestors.

Mr Powell re-affirms the position taken by recycling and waste portfolio holder, Cllr Phyl Davies, that the authority will plough ahead with building the bulk waste facility.

Mr Powell also explains that the proposal was out in the open before it was discussed and approved at a planning meeting in August and he stresses it was never a “done deal”.

Mr Powell says: “Consultation was over and above what is required. There was an open event as well as an evening presentation where residents were able to voice their concerns, which was well attended.

“The local member and community council were both fully aware of the proposed development.

“There were only three objections to the planning application, all of which took the opportunity to speak at the planning committee meeting where the application was decided.”

Mr Powell goes on to stress that the site in Abermule is designated for industrial use and is in “complete accordance with the Local Development Plan.”

He believes it is the perfect location situated claiming it is “equidistant” between Welshpool and Newtown.

Abermule is four miles from Newtown and 10 miles from Welshpool and that looking for a new site would cost the county’s taxpayers.

Mr Powell does go on to accept that the decision is controversial and finishes by saying:  “The perception of the impact of these sites is far worse than the reality, as can be seen where we operate other similar sites.”

Protestor Stephen Meadowcroft, said: “The consultation was a farce. The evening presentation was nothing more than a fishing exercise to make sure they had all their bases covered before the planning decision meeting.

“Residents were encouraged to raise their objections and thought that they would be represented through the forms they filled in at the end of the evening.

“Such an important meeting should have been held over a weekend and advertised by an independent leaflet or letter to each household.”

“He says there were only three objections. He is referring to the three residents that actually took time off work to attend the planning decision meeting which took place on a weekday morning.”

ACT Chairman Jeff Mathews added: “The placement of a recycling plant in Abermule appears, from all of the documentation, to have been a ‘done deal’.

“It was not going to be stopped at any point by local objections. We feel that local democracy is shown to be working correctly when people have a choice.

“People who went to the PCC/Asbri Planning evening presentation thought they had a right to say “Yes or No” to this recycling facility. They didn’t.

“It was a done deal which is difficult to deny even by David Powell.”

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