Peace shattered

PUBLISHED: 10:06 23 November 2006 | UPDATED: 11:14 06 May 2010

The Cleanaway site in Shefford

The Cleanaway site in Shefford

PLANNING officers are recommending that county councillors reject an application for the renewal of temporary planning permission for a glass and paper storage facility in Shefford. Members of Bedfordshire County Council s development control committee we

PLANNING officers are recommending that county councillors reject an application for the renewal of temporary planning permission for a glass and paper storage facility in Shefford.

Members of Bedfordshire County Council's development control committee were due to hear the application from Cleanaway Ltd when they meet at County Hall this morning (Thursday).

Cleanaway Ltd currently operates a facility for bulk storage of glass and paper collecting from kerbsides in Hertfordshire on the Shefford Business Park but is operating the site without planning permission following the expiry of planning consent in August.

The report being considered by councillors says if planning is refused enforcement proceedings should be undertaken by the council to halt the operation.

The author of the report, Richard Watts, assistant director of growth, planning and transport policy, says: "Due to the proximity of the site to residential properties, and the retrospective nature of the application, a condition was placed on the planning permission limiting activities to one year.

"This was to allow an assessment of noise to be carried out and give the applicant time to consider alternative sites.

"The county planning authority and Mid Beds District Council have received a number of complaints regarding operations on the site. The noise assessment showed the loading of glass gave rise to excessive noise levels and mitigation proposals were suggested.

"These were the installation of acoustic doors, the installation of ventilation equipment, the use of a gas powered loading shovel and the erection of straw bales on the boundary of the site."

The report adds that the loading of glass lasts 45 minutes twice a week and the loading of paper an hour just once a week. Also the loading of glass into heavy goods vehicles is carried out with the doors to the building open due to health and safety issued from the diesel fumes and the glass dust.

Mid Beds District's Council's environmental health officer says in the report: "Noise from the site has been subject to an investigation. However, there is concern the noise may be detrimental to neighbouring residents.

"The applicant has always maintained the stance that the site is only temporary but has failed to vacate the site within the timescales given on more than one occasion."

The report by Mr Watts added: "The county planning authority has requested that the applicant (Cleanway Ltd) provide further information of alternative sites for glass and paper storage. No information has been forthcoming and the applicant has shown no evidence to suggest that alternative sites have been considered during the past year of operations.

"Even though there is an identified noise issue at the site, the application does not propose any further noise mitigation measures as part of the proposal for ongoing operations at the site.

"The level of disturbance from the site is such that I consider it to be detrimental to the amenity of local residents and the site does not provide a facility to meet local needs within Bedfordshire.

"No information has been provided by the applicant on alternative sites and therefore it is not possible to assess the application in terms of regional need.

A spokesman for Cleanaway said: "Consent for the Shefford site was always temporary. We have applied for an extension in the course of business, whilst actively looking for alternative locations. We await the official decision.

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