Controversial and "sometimes smelly" landfill site to stay open for another 15 YEARS in Milton Keynes, government inspector rules
The site does not even take waste from Milton Keynes any more, say shocked councillors
Residents and councillors have lost their battle to close the controversial Bletchley landfill site.
A government Planning Inspector has ruled the site can stay open for another 15 years, during which FCC Environment will continue to operate it.
The decision, labelled as "shocking", follows an appeal by the operators after MK Council refused to grant them planning permission for the extension.
FCC's permission was due to expire in 2022 and local councillors had refused permission due to the impact of the landfill site on residents, who complain about frequent unpleasant smells cast over over parts of Bletchley and the new Newton Leys estate.
Residents also blame the site for a "plague of flies" that invades their homes every summer
The site has been operating in Drayton Road, from a clay pit that was part of the Newton Longville brickworks, for the past three decades. But because the council has become greener in its waste collection, it is sending less and less rubbish to landfill each year. As a result, most of the rubbish going into the Bletchley site is from outside of MK, from areas such as central Bedfordshire and even parts of London.
Councillors and residents wanted the area to be to turned into a scenic nature reserve for people to enjoy.
Labour's Emily Darlington, councillor for Bletchley East, said: “MK prides itself in being the greenest city. The local council does not use the landfill. Why should we have to put up with importing others waste from as far away as London. The council was right to stand up for residents. It is a slap in the face for local democracy and another win for Tory Corporate greed in the planning system. It’s literally a rubbish decision.”
Cllr Ethan Kelly-Wilson, Chair of Bletchley and Fenny Stratford Council said: “As a dad raising my son in Newton Leys, I am shocked that the inspector disregarded the impact on the local community. We need the planned country park and Blue Lagoon extension now. Instead, my son will be an adult by the time the landfill closes and this is delivered. This is a loss to an entire generation.”
But the Planning Inspector disagreed with residents and councillors. He concluded that the extension of the operational period of the landfill "would not unacceptably harm the living conditions of local residents"
He added: "Neither would it result in unacceptable harm to the users of other facilities in the area, including the Newton Leys Pavilion and local schools.”
The site will now operate until 2037.
To rub salt in the wound, losing the appeal will result in a huge legal bill for MK Council, who have been ordered to pay the costs of the case.
A source told the Citizen: "MKC’s own legal bill for the inquiry is in the region of £150,000 to £185,000 (£85,937.50 on its witnesses and £65,000 to £100,000 for the QC) and it must now pay the developer’s full costs which are likely to be much higher as they had more witnesses and more professionals involved. It would not surprise me if MKC has to pay the developer’s costs in the region of £300,000 to £500,000.
Local Labour councillor Ed Hume said: “There was an incredible local effort to stop the landfill. We fought so hard to stop this. Milton Keynes Council put residents first but the Tory government never do. The Conservatives have allowed a planning inspector to overrule local people. It just isn’t right.”