Protest over recycling plant plans

RESIDENTS opposed to a commercial recycling plant on their doorstep have won the support of their council in the fight against the proposal. More than 150 people marched through Colchester last night in opposition to plans for the development at Middlewick Ranges to process 100,000 tonnes of waste per year.

RESIDENTS opposed to a commercial recycling plant on their doorstep have won the support of their council in the fight against the proposal.

More than 150 people marched through Colchester last night in opposition to plans for the development at Middlewick Ranges to process 100,000 tonnes of waste per year.

The scheme, likened to opening a can of worms, is from Chelmsford-based Eco Aggregates Ltd on Ministry of Defence land and is designed to deal with materials from the garrison development.

Residents told Colchester Borough Council's planning committee the chosen site was used by dog walkers, joggers and children and was a vital piece of green space in a rapidly-developing town.


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A packed Town Hall also heard there were serious concerns about the potential increase of heavy lorries on already busy roads.

Before the application was heard, Terry Sutton, councillor for Berechurch ward, and Mary Blandon, councillor for Harbour ward, presented a petition containing more than 700 signatures.

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Everyone who spoke said they were in favour of recycling, but said it was not the right site.

Resident Ken Warne said it was “one of the only places where people can walk, exercise their dogs, children can play and breathe in fresh air and collect crab apples”.

Lisa Clarke said people were worried about the dust and dirt the recycling process would cause.

“I speak for many of the residents and strongly ask the planning application to be rejected,” she said.

A report prepared for the meeting revealed the land is home to a number of protected species including common lizards, badgers and skylarks.

Colin Moodie, of Mersea Road, said: “To me it is a plan of convenience - the company's convenience, but not to the residents of the area.”

Jill Carter said the centre would be a “catastrophe” for the area, saying it was vital that the green space was not lost.

She said: “If we lose this space, we are not going to get it back.

“There are so few places where children can run around on their bikes and not get shouted at.”

Mrs Blandon told the committee the increased traffic would cause “absolute chaos” in Mersea Road and Abbot's Road and make life “unbearable” for residents.

Planning committee member Chris Hall said he was “astounded” by the application, suggesting the issue should have been sorted out before the garrison redevelopment began.

Julie Young, also on the committee, said she was astonished the Highways Agency posed no objections, saying its judgement was “completely bizarre”.

Members of the planning committee said the proposal did not form part of the local long-term plan for the borough and voted unanimously in favour of informing the county council it strongly objects.

Essex County Council will now decide whether to proceed with the plan, which also triggered more than 100 letters of objection.

On a previous occasion Eco Aggregates maintained the facility was an environmentally friendly way of dealing with large amounts of material generated by the major housing development and would cut down on the use of lorries and landfill.

james.hore@eadt.co.uk

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