Rivington Against Greenbelt Exploitation, 20 January 2011

It was standing room only at Horwich Conservative club on Thursday night, as up to 150 local residents raised concerns over the development of Winter Hill, for quarrying and waste processing – The plot to replace Rivington with a great big pile of waste.

Barbara Ronson cut short her meeting at Horwich Town Council to give her support, and apologies were received from Ken Thomson, who was chairing the Town Council meeting.

RAGE – Rivington Against Greenbelt Exploitation has now gained charitable status, which should assist fundraising in the forthcoming campaigns.

It was announced that instructions had been given to the legal team, advising the four local action groups, to prepare a letter before claim, in yet another judicial review, this time on application 84065/10, approved earlier this year. Once again the legal team has indicated that there are  likely to be multiple grounds for a judicial review.

Residents were concerened that if the more obvious requirements of National Policy and the law were being ignored by Bolton Council, how could an objective appraisal be made on the greyer issues regarding the pros and cons of the development be made by the planning committee – but then it was pointed out that on the last three permissions approved, (two of which have already agreed to be quashed) the decision making process appears to have been taken out of the hands of the committee – all rather strange for a democracy.

It is believed that Armstrong’s may already have broken three conditions on the new permission, which must be a record as our understanding is that the development should not yet have started.

 It is further understood, that the green waste stored in Pilkington Quarry – which should have been removed approximately a year ago, was being transported to the Chorley New Road site, over the New Year Bank Holiday, even though Armstrong’s have just been prosecuted for storing non-inert waste at this site. It is understood that the Environment Agency cut short their holiday to stop this happening.

The public particpation was extremely encouraging, with many people offering their support in the campaign. Residents were particlularl concerened about the traffic impact on local schools and Horwich Town Centre, besides the visual damage.

It appeared that if the stone is of National or regional importance that objections may subside, however as the stone appears to be suitable only for kerb stones and sets, and no demand has been demonstrated in the various applications, residents  (and the planning committee) are unable to make this fundamental judgement.

A copy of the presentation will be found HERE

Current Bolton Council Planning Committee members can be found HERE

Rivington Against Greenbelt Exploitation – meeting

There will be a meeting at Horwich Conservative Club on Thursday 20th January 2011, at 7.30 pm to discuss the recent developments regarding Pilkington Quarry

Armstrong’s Withdraw Appeal on 80931/08

As predicted last month, Armstrong’s appeal has been been withdrawn.

Over 600 pages of additional information were  submitted. Even with all this additional information it was highly unlikely that the appeal would have succeeded and on this basis Armstrong’s withdrew the appeal.

The four local action groups, including BHEAG, following  many hundreds of hours of reasearch   submitted over 50 pages of evidence and rebuttals.

Interestingly much of the evidence submitted by Bolton Council and the four local action would suggest there are multiple grounds for a Judicial Review on 84065/10. The case is currently being considered by legal advisors.

It may be that at sometime in the future permission is granted, which is both lawful and reasonable. This will require a full, proper and factually correct environmental assesment, with an open and fair public consultation, with elected officers being able to consider all the material facts.

Only in this way can the  negative impacts on the area  be minimised,  and any positive benefits truly captured.

However the strategy to replace Rivington with a great big hill of waste continues,

It is possible that nobody alive today will ever be able to enjoy the tranquility of the area, nor shop in Horwich safely ever again. Demolition started today on building in the path of the quarry extension.

Planning Appeal – Pilkington Quarry

The planning appeal is currently scheduled for 18th January, 2011.  The public are invited to attend.

Bolton Council, The Environment Agency and the four local action groups have all submitted evidence to the enquiry.

On the basis of the deficiencies in the Environmental Statement Armstrong’s via their agents MPG asked for a three month adjournment. The Planning Inspector has denied the request, having already allowed substantial additional evidence fromm the applicant, in the form of a schedule 19.

The applicants are now left with the option of withdrawing the appeal, or running the risk of loosing the appeal, or having additional conditions imposed which were not part of the original proposal.

We believe that many of these deficiencies were also present in the permission approved last week, 84065/10, and which is currently being considered for judicial review.

Pilkington Quarry Extension Approved

It was one of those bizarre days when you can loose faith in Democracy.

Presented with new evidence that the transport statement was fundamentally flawed -the committee chose to ignore this siting “legal advice” and “national policy” approving the flawed application and inviting another judicial review.

The transport statement had stated 100 HGV movements a day were using the quarry, which local residents state is closer to 4 a week. Figures provided for the appeal- which will now most likely be withdrawn, show that HGV vehicle movements on the adjoining network are not 338 per day, but 108, triggering a highways assesment  – as required by law. The impact to Horwich Town centre could be 10 times the required trigger level as required by law.

The fact that the noise for nearby residents from passing HGVs may require ear defenders had been ignored in the environmental statement and was not considered a material consideration by the commitee, contary to National Policy and perhaps missing the point that individual councillors could be liable under Human Rights law for damages.

Equally amazing is that the permission attempted to address limiting the number of HGVs using the existing void, even though they claim the ROMP permission is extant and that vehicle movements cannot be controlled. Even more amazing is that having sought to control vehicle movements in the existing void, the contamination issues were ignored – contrary to National Policy.

As one labour councillor stated to the effect ” If we reject this, it will be appealed an the inspector will overturn the decision – I dont want to cost the rate payers costs defending appeals” The councillor was evidently very detached from the progress of the current appeal, which will no doubt now be withdrawn. The costs now being as a result of Judicial review, ( Bolton Council have already agreed to quash two permissions.).  It sounds a little like if you got the money you’ve got the permssion -but that ignores the dedication and resources of the local action groups. If your house extension needs 80 feet, tell them the existing house is 100 feet and you are reducing it – nobody checks – few care.

Special mention must go to Barbara Ronson (Lib), Ray Barrow (Con) and Cllr Morgan (Con),  who objected strongly to the proposal, recognising the implications to the area and the feeling of residents. The labour benches voted unanimously for the proposal, the liberals unanimously against the proposal and all but two Conservatives voting in favour of the application.

To add insult to injury Martin Millmore slandered BHEAG, by attributing a statement made by a resident to the Bolton News to BHEAG, which the article made clear it was not.  BHEAG are considering their  position.

A two day court case found against Armstrongs for beach of conditions at the Chorley New Road site – statement to the Bolton News would appear to suggest that Armstrongs are accusing the Enviornment Agency of perjury. No doubt the Envirionment Agency will be considering their position. http://www.theboltonnews.co.uk/news/boltonnews/8774518.Waste_stored_incorrectly_at_recycling_site/

Pilkington Quarry 2011

Nothing should surprise you in the twisting tale of Pilkington Quarry.

Application 84065/10 is now going to be considered again on 6 January 2011 at 2.00 pm in the Council chambers. Consistently, the  Planning Officers are recommending approval. Consistently the Environmental Statement is grossly deficient.

With repsect to the appeal on 80931/08, the environment agency have confirmed that the analysis of the contaminated waste is incorrect, http://www.planning.bolton.gov.uk/Documents/86537_2.pdf  and MPG appear to have confirmed that their transport statement is incorrect.

Don’t be surprised if the appeal is withdrawn at the last minute.

The plot to replace Rivington with a great big pile of waste continues.

RAGE :   Rivington Against Greenbelt Exploitation

Pilkington Quarry – the Saga Continues.

Consents – 83299/09 and 83999/10

The Council agreed today to quash the consents, and re-imburse expenses incurred in the threatened Judicial Review. The applications will be re-determined.

Whilst on the face of it, this is good news, it does mean the process is becoming protracted. The Council would appear to agree that their recommendation to accept approval, on the information provided was invalid., as the four local action groups have been stating for nearly a year. There is a fundamental disagreement on whether  2042  is valid and it is likely at some time this will still need to be determined by the courts – although people close to the case would not be surprised if an earlier date was requested eg 2026.

Application 84065/10

It appears that the planning inspector agrees,  with the four local action groups that the environmental statement provided in the 08 application was deficient. Whilst  council officers believe the information the applicant has subsequently provided to the inspector is adequate, we fundamentally disagree.

The committee agreed to defer the decision until the appeal being considered by the inspector has been determined.

Many people close to the case, believe that the appeal will be withdrawn, thus denying local residents the opportunity for an independent assessment, without the need for a Judicial Review.

Armstrongs are in Court shortly, for alleged breaches of condition at the Chorley New Road site, and also for alleged breaches of condition at Pilkington Quarry.

Have a Happy Christmas –  and make your New Years resolution to fight this Green Belt exploitation.

Rivington Against Greenbelt Exploitation –  RAGE

Special Planning Committee Meeting

Consideration of application 84065/10 was deferred to a |Special Planning Committee Meeting on Monday 13 December 2010, at 2pm in the Council Chamber.

The meeting will also consider an urgent response to correspondence received regarding the permissions awarded on 15 October 2010

The public are encouraged to attend

Download PRESENTATION

Pilkington Quarry – Planning Committee 9 th December

What a mess !!

This application is for an extension to a quarry whose planning consents are subject to a judicial review. The council should have responded by the 7th of December but they have decided to respond by the 14th. Therefore there is a risk that the extension has awarded planning consent while the  original quarry does not.

Many consultees have been sent a raft of new information in the last few days, mainly as a result of the Planning Inspectors concerns, regarding the environmental statement, in the appeal process.

As a result of this further documents have been discovered – all which point to even greater concerns regarding the proposed extension.

Transport

Many residents have lived in the area over 50 years, when quarrying was c 10,000 tonnes per annum – 500  x 20 tonne lorries a year.  The proposed  level in this permission is approximately 500 vehicles every two days. – this is in addition to an unlimited amount in the existing void (restriction having been removed on the 15 October, 2010.)  That will mean an HGV every minute on a Saturday morning, in addition to the existing traffic from the quarry.

As one resident said – “it will kill any environmental enjoyment of this area.” – described recently by a councillor as “One of the most beautiful areas in Bolton.”

In various consultations both the GMGU and the GMTU have raised concerns about the issue of so many HGV vehicles passing within feet of the living rooms of cottages on Makinson Lane – and then the ongoing impact of so many HGV vehicles passing through Horwich Town Centre – with concerns to both physical and mental health.

Contamination

The assesment falls significantly short of that required, using guidlines issued c 17 years ago rather than modern day, 2010 guidance.  It totally ignores several key issues and is totally inadequate.

GreenBelt

The landbank should be used as an indicator of when new permissions should be granted. The land bank is 33 years- three times target – that would appear to be  a special circumstance for refusing this application.

The Visual Imapct

As stated in the Councils Rule 6 statement, for the appeal:

The proposal will have an adverse affect on the unique appearance and setting …. which do not meet the requirements… of the UDP

Environmental Statement

This must include the cumulative effects of developments – but these have largely been ignored.

Statutory Consultees

Conditions and concerns raised by the Environemnt Agency appear to have been largely ignored.

The full response from the four action groups can be found HERE

Pilkington Again – ( 9 December 2010)

Anyone could be confused by the raft of applications currently being submitted regarding Pilkington Quarry – the strategy may be overwhelm and conquer.

 Pilkington Quarry 80931/08 is currently undergoing the appeal process, Pilkington Quarry 83299/09  and Pilkington quarry 83999/10  are currently heading towards Judicial Review, with the Council due to respond to the letter before action 08/12/2010

Yet another application Pilkington Quarry 84065/10    is being considered at 2pm, 9 Decemeber  by the Planning Committee at Bolton town Hall  (public are invited to attend) – this time to extend the quarry boundary.

Given that the land bank for aggregates is many times that of the target level it would appear to make sense to ensure the two existing quarries are fully restored, prior to opening new quarries in the area, thus preventing over-development and a potential HGV gridlock.

The real issue may lie in the Greater Manchester Waste strategy – we need more holes to fill with Greater Manchester Waste.

The  plot to replace Rivington with a great big pile of waste.

RAGE  – Rivington Against Greenbelt Exploitation – will be holding a meeting at Horwich Conservative Club, Thursday 9 Decemer at 7pm – all are invited

Rivington Preferred Site for Developments !!!!!!

Two areas around Pilkington Quarry have been identified as preferred areas for development in the ongoing consultation. The Plan aims to reduce the reliance on primary minerals (those dug out of the ground) through better use of recycled aggregates and secondary mineral products

1. The extension to Pilkington Quarry, currently in application stage

2 The strip between Montcliffe and Pilkington – with a recommendation to divert the footpath (editors comment: that will be one massive detour, given the destruction of other footpaths by quarrying in the area) (this will enable the traffic to enter Pilkington Quaary, via the Montcliffe entrance)

Both sites have also been identified as Key in terms if waste management – which would appear to be one of the main driving forces behind digging a big hole  (Greater Manchester already has 33 years supply of the materials to be quarried. One of the previous big holes already allegedly heavily contaminated and therefore possibly being unsuitable for further waste) 

A spoke person for RAGE  (Rivington Against Greneblt Exploitation) commented that

“We have already raised a petition with over1500 signatures. It is clear that the general public are not aware of the great changes that we are about to endure.

 The previous limit on the number of HGV vehicles using the area has already been removed by Bolton council.

 One of the most iconic views in Bolton is about to change. 

Judging from recent experience the smell of fresh country air could be something of the past too.

 Large parts of the hill will become virtually inaccessible to the public.

Vehicles accessing the quarry frequently travel through Horwich Town centre, even Lostock and Heaton will be affected

 – this is total madness  “

The public are invited to comment -by 26 November 2010

Details can be found HERE ,  with supporting documents HERE

For more information about the Joint Waste Development Plan Document, please visit the website at http://consult.gmwastedpd.co.uk/portal/wmpt/waste_plan_publication_dpd?pointId=1248446

Blue Sky Over Rivington

The wind direction may be changing over Rivington – but no doubt there will be more storms ahead.

Just over a year ago several local action groups joined forces and submitted a legal letter to Bolton Council, which resulted in the application to extend Pilkington Quarry being rejected, by Bolton Planning Committee. Armstrong’s subsequently appealed against the rejection..

The local Action groups requested Rule 6 status to allow the groups to submit legal argument. The Planning Inspectorate has confirmed that it was an EIA development and has confirmed that the information provided was inadequate. They have therefore requested considerable information, from Armstrong’s before the appeal can even be considered, including an analysis of the stone remaining to be extracted in the current quarry.  

   Reg 19 letter to Appellant

Statement of common ground

Statement by Bolton council

On the basis of the inspectors view, application 84065/10 was deferred until December’s planning meeting,so the necessary information can be provided.

Bolton Council have also been advised of the intention to bring a Judicial review, regarding the two applications which were considred and reluctantly passed at the  planning committee in October.Bolton Council – Judicial Review Pilkington Quarry 10 11 10. The inspector’s report would appear to add considerable weight to the arguments which have been made by the four groups.

more to follow in the next few days

Dark Clouds Over Rivington

This Thursday sees yet another planning application being considered by the Planning Committee, with respect to Pilkington Quarry.

This time it is an application to extend the quarry – something considered by Manchester Council in the 1980s who considered it too devastating to this iconic Bolton landmark. It is also the same as was rejected last year by Bolton planning committee. The planning department are recommending acceptance. !!!

Only three weeks go, the quarry was granted extended planning permission until 2042.

Despite the fact that there should only be one active permission, the committee were told to approve 2.

They were told that if they did not approve the permissions, without an EIA, that non determination could be awarded, in which case non of the conditions could be imposed including the 2042.  – not true say our solicitors.

The committe were lead to believe that by approving the permissions they would have greater control, however the truth is potentially devastating.

In appriving an extension in the 02 permission – against the council’s own legal advice, a loop hole was opened up allowing the importation of waste without an approved restoration plan – or any further consultation with the Council

More alarmingly the conditions imposed removed the restrictions on the number of  vehicle movements.

It is clear that anything can happen in this rampant drive to replace Rivington with a massive pile of Greater Manchester Waste, and potentially  destroy one on the most beautiful and iconic places in Bolton.

Pilkington Quarry – 2042 + Montcliffe Legal Obligations

The Planning committee reluctently accepted, based on the advice of Tim Hill, that both applications needed to be accepted. Both applications were considered and  accepted simultaneously – appearing to ignore the advice from Bolton Council’s  published legal advice.

Incredibly the site plan for the new permissions are actually larger than those of the original consents, so the committee may actually have voted for an expansion of the site -or did they – the committee were told that they were voting only for a time extension of the older permissions

Mr Hill stated that “We cannot impose any other conditions as the applicant has asked us only to look at the end date.”

Similarly the need for an EIA or referral to the Secretary of State – as a departure from the UDP was brushed aside.

A statement to the effect “WE cannot enforce the conditions if we do not grant these permissions” – which begs the question what has been happening for the last three years ? If we do not grant permission they may be able to continue infinitum ie after 2042

Local residents are now left with the decision on whether to proceed to Judicial Review. A significant amount of money has already been pledged towards this but it will need the majority of residents to make a commitment, subject to further legal advice.

It is expected that the application to extend the quarry wil be considered in one  month’s time.

At the same meeting a section 106 agreement, covering Montcliffe Quarry, and transferring responsibility from  Hanson to GCN LTD was considered. GCN Ltd are registered at the Horwich Recycling Centre on Chorley New Road – the same as Armstrong’s Environmental Services.

The three documents can be found Here

Rivington may never be the same again

Pilkington Quarry – planning committee 14 October, 2010

Only two of the three applications will be considered at todays committee meeting, which is open to the public  at Bolton Town Hall, at 2pm.

Blackrod and Horwich Environmental Group, Horwich Moor Residents Association, Arcon  Village Residents Group and Montcliffe Resident Association have already submitted representations from a solicitor. Legal Advice (2)

It is understood that several local residents have also taken legal advice, which may result in further submissions to Bolton Council.

The legal advice given to the groups have been totally consistent – Unlawful – there is insufficient information with which the Planning Committee can make an informed decision.

“An injustice committed against anyone is a threat to everyone.”
— Montesquieu