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Schemes to ease West Berkshire 'waste wars' decided

Councillors approve change of use application despite concerns

Fiona Tomas

Fiona Tomas


01635 886639

Months of delays added to West Berkshire waste wars resolution

WEST Berkshire residents will soon be allowed to dump their household waste at the Padworth Recycling Centre.

Currently, those living in the east of the district have to travel to Newbury to dispose of their items.

This has been the case since 2016, when residents were banned from using the Smallmead Recycling Centre in Reading due to West Berkshire Council withdrawing its funding.

However, at a meeting last Wednesday, district councillors backed two separate proposals submitted by Veolia Environmental Services – the company which operates the facility on behalf of West Berkshire Council.

Veolia had asked to change the use of the Padworth Integrated Waste Management Facility and also requested to alter the opening hours to between 8am and 6pm, Mondays to Sundays.

The centre is currently open from 12.30pm until 6pm on weekdays and from 8am until 6pm at weekends.

At last week’s eastern area planning committee meeting, councillors backed the proposal, despite many ward members expressing their disappointment that no representative from Veolia had shown up.

The committee also heard from local residents and consultants including Mike Warner, the chairman of Padworth Parish Council.

Mr Warner expressed concerns over the severe lack of signage in and around the roads adjoining the site, Padworth Lane and Rectory Road.

Raising both the issue of speed and lack of signage, Mr Warner also indicated five completely blind corners on what he simply labelled “tarmacked car tracks”, where vehicles often drove in excess of 40mph.

Similar views were echoed by John Russell, the transport consultant advising Padworth Parish Council.

Councillor Mollie Lock, (Lib Dem, Mortimer) also pleaded with members to think about the needs of the residents who lived locally to the site.

Mr Russell claimed the transport report was flawed due to its failure to mention key sensitive receptors which would be affected.

These included homes directly fronting Padworth Lane and Rectory Road, equestrian facility deliveries, a fuel storage depot, Jubilee School, Padworth Village Hall and pedestrians.

Graham Bridgman (Con, Mortimer) admitted he had a “very split personality” on the application, adding he was torn between the residents he was representing – those locally to the site and those who have expressed their “desperation” at wanting to access the site.

But he defended Mr Warner and Padworth Parish Council for their “active and vociferous” approach in battling overhanging vegetation and a speed limit review for Padworth Lane, contrary to what some members had suggested.

As councillors entered into the debate, discussing the ownership of the hanging vegetation across Padworth Lane and the precise number of increased vehicle movements, there was a proposal to defer the first application.

Alan Law (Con, Basildon) claimed the applicant should have included assessments evaluating the impact of traffic increases and distribution patterns from 10am.

He said: “The major issue for the residents is the 8am to 6pm.

“No alternative seems to have been evaluated.”

It was established that this would require the application to be deferred and create an “operational problem” for the council’s planning officers.

But conditional permission for both applications was duly granted, on the condition that issues over hedgerow maintenance, highway signage and public rights of way signage were addressed.  

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