A controversial planning application to increase vehicle movements and working hours at a Cublington waste site would “blight local communities” and distress military veterans recovering from PTSD, it has been claimed.
An application has been submitted to Buckinghamshire Council which seeks to extend the hours of operation at Lockharts Farm Waste Recycling Facility, Wing Road, from 7am to 5pm Mondays to Fridays (the start time is currently 8am) and to increase the permitted daily HGV movements from 24 movements (12 in, 12 out) to 60 (30 in, 30 out).
The application is now a step closer to becoming reality as it was recommended for approval by an officers’ report to a meeting of North Buckinghamshire Area Planning Committee on December 15. Although, following a debate the decision was deferred.
Speaking after the meeting, Ian Williams, Wing resident, claimed: “At this planning meeting, the Buckinghamshire Transport spokesperson stated that he had no concerns about articulated bulk carriers driving along Wing High Street to exit onto the A418. No on-site traffic assessments have been undertaken, only a ‘desktop’ assessment. It’s outrageous that Buckinghamshire Council can get away with this. I fear for people’s safety.”
A separate but related application for Lockharts Farm Waste Recycling Facility was also discussed at the meeting, which seeks the erection of concrete walling at heights of three and six metres. The latter would be located to the north east of the site and the former along the rest of the northern boundary.
The walling is intended to “provide noise mitigation, help demarcate the limits of the site and prevent overspilling”, with the application also recommended for approval, but deferred.
However, Councillor Diana Blamires, of Wing ward, stated at the meeting: “The traffic problems in Wing and Cublington are so chronic that there should be no more lorry movements whatsoever, never mind a 250% increase.
“In Wing 32 tonne trucks can’t get round the roundabout. Trucks and other vehicles have smashed into houses in Wing almost ploughing into living rooms.
“Lorries have swerved onto narrow pavements in Wing. People should not have to take their life in their hands to cross the road.
“Giving the green light to more lorries in Wing will create a deathtrap.
“Most worryingly of all there are up to 12 military veterans at any one time in an ex-army home 300m from the site. Jackie Park, Operations Manager, Amicus Trust say many of the residents suffer with PTSD and mental health issues.
“They need the peace and quiet of the rural location. Sudden very loud noises and disruption from vehicles tipping out a lorryload of bricks will undoubtedly have a detrimental affect on their wellbeing and recovery. This is no way to treat our war heroes.”
Meanwhile, Cllr Blamires also raised concerns about other neighboring villages. She told the meeting: "In the centre of Cublington it’s a single track road which is totally unsuitable for 32 tonne trucks. Cublington cannot cope with the vehicles already going through never mind allowing more.
"There is a sign on the road to Aston Abbotts stating the village is unsuitable for HGVs. As another recycling site was set up two miles away at Red Barn Farm, Stewkley; there are 32 tonne lorries coming from that site too.
"The road which the site is off is a minor C road totally unsuitable for a crushing plant. There is a Dressage Centre at the site - horses and riders have to contend with more trucks than they should."
Echoing Cllr Blamires's concerns, speaking after the meeting, resident of Cublington Roger Bottle, said: "There should be no justification for granting this application if it allows the pursuit of commercial gain to outweigh the interests of local residents.
"Doing so would demonstrate little regard for the concerns of rural communities and the resulting impact such developments would have on their wellbeing".
Cublington resident Graham Dunn added: "I cycle every day along the local roads including past the proposed recyling site. 60 lorry movements a day including 50 foot bulk transfer artics will blight our local communities. Our narrow roads are already broken beyond repair."
A Bucks Council spokesman said: “This particular application has been deferred to allow for further information regarding amenity and highway impacts to be sought.”
Cllr Blamires added: "I have called on residents to oppose the ludicrous council officer suggestion of lorries going along Wing High Street because they can’t turn right at the roundabout in Wing."
The LBO will be following up the story in the New Year.