Cornwall Council's Strategic Planning Committee has given the go ahead to the proposal from Sita to build a new refuse transfer station and household waste recycling centre at Bangors Lane on the Pennygillam Industrial Estate in Launceston.
As I have blogged before, this meeting was held in County Hall despite the Bangors Lane application being the only one on the agenda. As a result, there were only a handful of local residents present despite the application being of great interest locally. I have asked why such meetings do not automatically happen in the areas they affect.
At the meeting, I asked questions about possible contamination and the dangers of harmful substances being blown into town or affecting other businesses (including Kensey Foods) on the Penygillam Estate. I was told that the Council does not believe that building works will bring any contaminants to light but, if it does happen, then building would have to stop immediately. I was also assured that the waste recycling part of the development would be staffed at all times during opening hours to make sure that any asbestos or other harmful substances are disposed of safely.
We were also told that Sita would make sure that litter is dealt with although I was not allowed to get an answer from the Sita representative about how this would be managed.
Together with my fellow councillors from the Launceston area, I expressed strong concerns about the highways on the Pennygillam Estate. Officers claim that the carriageway on Pennygillam Way is wide enough for two HGVs to pass. Locals know that this isn't the case and there are frequently hold ups as one lorry passes another. This could only get worse as more lorries use the road. I also worry about the turning from Pennygillam Way into Bangors Lane. Originally a new roundabout was considered to ease congestion, but this has disappeared.
We also queried the absence of a re-use and re-sale facility in the application. Neil Burden told the Committee that a promise was made five years ago that this application would include plans for a re-use and re-sale centre. The Committee voted to require the Council and Sita to talk to local councillors, the Town Council and local parish councils about this and bring forard plans within two years. It's not ideal, but it's a step in the right direction.
It is quite clear in my mind that the new transfer station and recycling centre are badly needed as the old site is too small and not easy to use. I remain concerned about traffic but will be taking this matter up with the Council alongside my colleagues. It should be pointed out that throughout this process, Sita have been hugely helpful.