CAMPAIGNers claim they have forced Lancashire County Council to listen to residents and professional advice and ‘think again’ before allowing landfill to begin at Parbold Hill.
Stop Parbold Hill Landfill (SPHL) were able to secure the services of QC David Forsdick thanks to donations from local Parish Councils and residents.
The QC is critical of the county council’s decisions and has written a report on the matter.
A spokesperson for Stop Parbold Hill Landfill commented: “Had this not been the case then 120,000 tonnes would have been transported in 11,000 HGVs to be deposited on the hilltop and the panoramic views would have been lost forever.”
Lancashire County Council’s Development Control Committee was resolved to grant permission despite more than 1,000 objections from local residents, six Parish Councils and West Lancashire Borough Council.
David Forsdick QC considered the Council’s procedures in reaching the decision. His report concluded: “I consider that there are multiple inconsistencies, inaccuracies, misunderstandings and misconceptions underlying the resolution to grant – and a clear failure to test propositions of fact put forward by the Applicant but which appear to be unsustainable and/or misconceived.
“The Council thus has an opportunity now to reconsider on a correct, factual, legal and technical understanding. I have no hesitation in recommending that they should do so.”
QC Forsdick went on to criticise LCC planners’ acceptance, without evidence, of the need to import this huge quantity of waste which will “destroy the views from the hill and create the need for the disastrous new entrance”.
Concerned about the safety aspects of the proposed new access near the brow of the hill, the planning committee asked for consideration of traffic lights. Local businessman Mike Pickering who drives over the hill every day commented: “14,000 vehicles a day use the road over the Hill, imagine the delays lights would cause, queues going back to the village! We’ll all be sliding backwards in icy weather!! They really do need to think again!”
The Planning Committee concluded that the proposed works should be allowed, in order to prevent pollution of the River Douglas and surrounding area. But the QC found that: “There is no evidence whatsoever (even after 30 years and despite regular monitoring) of any harm to surface water in particular the river.”
He noted: “It is difficult to understand how major works in the Green Belt are necessary to address potential pollution when after 30 years there is no evidence of such pollution – this basic point was not addressed by the Council.”
A spokesperson for Stop Parbold Hill Landfill said: “Lancashire County Council has now listened, stopped the current application and asked the applicant (Maybrook Developments) to work with the Environment Agency to minimise its most harmful and controversial aspects. We hope this will eventually lead to the Council’s reconsideration of a more acceptable, less destructive scheme for repair and maintenance at Parbold Hill.”
A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: “The county council has considered the advice that has been obtained by the action group. Whilst the county council does not accept many of the issues raised, it has nevertheless asked the applicant to progress a permit application with the Environment Agency.
“This is a step that has to take place anyway, and it will allow many of the questions raised by the action group to be further investigated, providing an opportunity for the scale and justification for the proposals to be further assessed by the agency.
“After the Environment Agency has determined the permit application, a further report on the planning application will be considered by the county council's Development Control Committee.”