RESIDENTS in Brierley Hill are mustering for another fight against plans to build a £40million indoor recycling centre after hearing an appeal has been lodged.
The ambitious scheme by Clean Power Properties to build a high-tech energy recovery centre on old railway sidings off Moor Street was rejected in August last year by Dudley Council’s planning committee – following fierce objections from people living nearby.
But the company, which is working to develop similar facilities at 12 other sites across the UK, has now lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol to try and overturn the decision.
Residents living near the Brierley Hill site fear the proposed advanced technology conversion centre would create pollution and unpleasant odours, decrease house prices in the area and result in more lorries trundling along already busy borough streets.
The company, however, refutes worries about odour emissions - saying the proposed building's air tight design would mean no odour could escape.
Bosses also say the facility - which would use anaerobic digestion processes to convert food waste into energy - would create around 30 new jobs and produce renewable energy for up to around 10,000 homes; and they claim traffic movements would be restricted to 70 vehicles a day.
A spokesperson for Clean Power said: “Our plans comply completely with local planning policy. They will reduce Dudley’s reliance on landfill, generate renewable energy and provide skilled jobs. We have worked extremely hard to demonstrate our centre’s suitability and to take on board the feedback we have received.”
On hearing news of the appeal this week, concerned resident Tim Lee said: "Clean Power have filed this appeal at the last minute and there's been widespread dismay."
While Brierley Hill councillor Rachel Harris said the ward’s Labour councillors remain “resolutely opposed to this application”.
She added: "We're very disappointed Clean Power Properties has chosen to ignore the wishes of local residents and decided to put in an appeal.
"This is excellent technology but it's definitely in the wrong place and it will be a big blow to Brierley Hill if the Planning Inspectorate goes against the advice of expert officers and wishes of the councillors and local residents.
"This technology has the potential to go wrong and my concern is it would finish any future new homes being built in that area. We could not give planning permission for brand new homes close to such a facility."
Cllr Harris said a group of residents and councillors plan to meet tomorrow (Wednesday) to see how they can further oppose the proposed facility, which would be located in the same street as a towering pile of rubbish that made international headlines when it peaked at 40-feet.
She added: "We don't want Brierley Hill labelled as the waste pile of the West Midlands."
Anyone wishing to get involved with the campaign group can contact Cllr Harris by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call Tim Lee on 01384 936652 or email email@example.com