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Knacker's yard sparks fresh concerns

Alarm raised over fumes, odours and flooding

John Garvey

John Garvey


01635 886628

Wessex saw mill

FRESH concerns have been raised over the siting of a knacker’s yard and carcass incinerator in the Valley of the Racehorse.

West Berkshire Council’s Public Protection Partnership (PPP) and others have raised the alarm over fumes and odour escaping the plant – the nightmare scenario feared by the local horseracing industry.

In addition, fresh doubts have been raised over flooding and whether a larger incinerator had replaced the one originally suggested.

West Berkshire Council confirmed in July that an enforcement officer was investigating those claims.

For years, hundreds of local residents successfully opposed siting the business in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The scheme, first suggested in 2013, involved moving the operation from its location in Turnpike Industrial Estate, Newbury, to the site of the former Wessex Saw Mill in Great Shefford.

Planning permission was first refused in March 2015 after more than 300 letters opposing it were received.

A similar application, lodged in August 2016, was also rejected.

There were particular fears among neighbouring residents that the entire water supply, drawn from a local borehole, could become contaminated during recurring bouts of flooding at the site. 

But in January, applicant J Passey and Sons successfully appealed to Her Majesty’s Planning Inspectorate.

Subsequently the minutes of a Chaddleworth Parish Council meeting stated: “The [West Berkshire Council] case officer had been informed over concerns of the Valcon incinerator that has been installed is the 2000 model and not the one for which permission has been granted [Valcon 1000].

“There is a difference of over three tonnes in weight between them... the case officer said any information that was allowed to be given would be passed on to councillor [Graeme] Murphy.

West Berkshire Council spokeswoman Peta Stoddart-Crompton confirmed at the time: “We have an enforcement officer looking into this.”

Now J Passey and Sons has submitted evidence to back its application to have planners formally cite that it will have discharged its obligations under the existing planning permission.

Ms Stoddart-Crompton said this week: “As part of the process the incinerator proposed will be assessed and either approved or refused.”

As consultee to the current application, the National Animal Welfare Trust at Great Shefford submitted a report to planners which states: “The proposals appear inadequate to improve the landscape appearance of the site or screen sight to the new and wider facility.

“The drawing submitted does not provide sufficient detail on which to base a decision to discharge a landscape planning condition, particularly in a sensitive location such as an AONB [Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty].”

A report prepared on behalf of nearby residents states: “The applicant has not provided any evidence as to the actual odour emissions.”

A report produced on behalf of J Passey & Sons states the business operated in Newbury for years “without any significant odour nuisance complaints from adjoining premises”.

However, 50 Newbury residents signed a petition in favour of moving it to Great Shefford – because of the “foul smells”.

Environmental consultant Enzygo warns: “The information submitted is not sufficient to discharge the conditions, demonstrate that the drainage design is deliverable nor demonstrate no increase in downstream flood risk.”

And a report by West Berkshire Council’s PPP also expresses concerns over odour.

No decision has yet been taken on the application.

Meanwhile it can be viewed in full, and commented on, by visiting the planning section of West Berkshire Council’s website and using the reference 19/01221/COND1.

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Article comments

  • NoisyNortherner

    27/11/2019 - 15:04

    How about the racehorse industry which is so happy to locate itself in and around Lambourn takes ownership of a business for which there is obviously a demand for? Seems as though the industry is quite happy to leave the incinerator closeby to residential areas and schools.