Controversial plans for a new waste facility in Bury St Edmunds are under challenge today at London’s High Court.
A resident who lives 600 metres from the proposed site claims Suffolk County Council failed to take into account a major new housing extension to the town that will put residents even closer to the waste facility.
John Corrie, who brings his claim on behalf of local people opposed to the waste facility in Rougham Hill, is asking one of the country’s top judges, Mr Justice Cranston, to quash the planning permission the County Council granted itself in October last year.
He wants the judge to order the County Council to reconsider the scheme, which is also opposed by St Edmundsbury Borough Council and housing developer Hopkins Homes, which is interested in a site to the south of Rougham Hill.
The Rougham Hill site has been earmarked for 1,250 homes and is identified as a strategic growth site in the Borough Council’s Local Plan.
Mr Corrie says the nearest homes and a Sainsbury’s supermarket are only 200 metres away from the waste site, part of which is already a small-scale household waste recycling centre.
Under the planning permission granted, that site and adjoining vacant land will house a waste transfer station that processes around 95,000 tonnes of household waste per year, including 5,000 tonnes of ‘hazardous waste’ from gas bottles, car batteries, oil, waste paint, asbestos and clinical waste.
Mr Corrie says 61 heavy goods vehicles will access the site every day.
However, both the County Council and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government took the view the proposal would not have significant environmental effects. In those circumstances it was held that a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was not required.
But, in reaching that conclusion, Mr Corrie says the Council failed to have any regard to the impact on future occupiers of the proposed development of 1,250 homes. He argues it was a clear error not to assess the noise impacts on those residents, many of whom will be closer than existing properties.
He also argues that no reasonable local authority could have reached the conclusion that planning permission would not prejudice the future residential development plans.
He alleges the County Council failed to have regard to advice from statutory consultee, the Environment Agency, that the proposed residential development should be taken into account.
Lawyers for the County Council argue that the planning permission was lawful and should be upheld.
It’s ‘screening opinion’ that an EIA was not necessary stated that the proposed urban extension will include a ‘green corridor’ that would serve as a buffer between the planned development and the route that will be taken by HGVs to the new waste facility.
The judge is expected to reserve his judgment and give it in writing at a later date.