Wyre recycling business refused permission for permanent crushing operation

The operator of a small-scale construction waste facility in Thornton-Cleveleys says he will appeal after being refused planning permission for his business - seven years after it began.

Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 12:11 pm

John Cockett claims that the mobile crushing device used at his base at Willow House Farm on Bispham Road - where inert material is processed to produce recycled aggregates and soils - did not require approval.

He says that he wanted to “go down the correct route” by applying for permission when he decided to station a crusher at the site permanently - rather than rely on the equipment that he hires out, which comes and goes from the location.

Although appealing against the decision, Mr. Cockett says it does not prevent him from continuing to operate using the same mobile kit with which the business has functioned since 2013.

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The sorting and recycling processes take place behind the fenced off area at Willow House Farm off Bispham Road (image: Dan Martino)
The sorting and recycling processes take place behind the fenced off area at Willow House Farm off Bispham Road (image: Dan Martino)

However, a meeting of Lancashire County Council’s development control committee - where the application was refused - heard that an “enforcement notice” could now be issued against the operation.

Members unanimously rejected the proposal after receiving a report from the authority’s planning officers stating that it amounted to “inappropriate development” in the greenbelt.

The meeting was also told that an assessment of potential noise and dust resulting from the work - undertaken for between eight and 10 hours per week - had not been submitted. The nearest homes are part of a new estate, 100m away from the farm. A total of nine objections were received to the plans.

Principal planning officer Jonathan Haine said: “Due to the relatively close distance to the site of these properties, it is considered that [noise and dust] impacts would be very difficult to mitigate and therefore it is likely that unacceptable...impacts would result.

“This operation does assist in the recycling and recovery of inert waste. However, that needs to be balanced against the local environmental impacts.”

When committee member Cllr Stephen Clarke suggested that the site be “tidied up and put back to its original state”, Mr. Haine added: “If [the application is] refused, we will have to serve an enforcement notice.”

However, speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service after the meeting, Mr. Cockett disputed that - and said that the entire decision had been based on “incorrect information”.

“We’re not a greenbelt site - some of the fields around me are greenbelt land, but mine isn’t. [The borough council] has just passed an application for 45 houses literally a stone’s throw away from me on Faraday Way.”

He also rejected flood-related reasons for the refusal - namely, that a risk assessment had failed to demonstrate how the plans sought to ensure the chance of flooding elsewhere was not increased and the suggestion that access was not guaranteed for the Environment Agency for maintenance of the nearby Royals Brook.

“They’ve never serviced it in the 40 years we’ve lived here - we dig it ourselves and so do my neighbours,” Mr. Cockett said.

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