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Probe into horse carcass incinerator

Council investigates whether machine complies with planning regs

John Garvey

John Garvey


01635 886628

Wessex saw mill

THE incinerator at the controversial knacker’s yard in Great Shefford is under investigation.

West Berkshire Council has confirmed that an enforcement officer is investigating claims that the model that has been installed is different from the one for which planning permission was granted.

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 business from its location on 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.

Now, however, the chairman of Chaddleworth Parish Council, Grahame Murphy, has claimed that all is not as it should be.

Mr Murphy – who was a staunch critic of the planning proposal – revealed the development at a recent meeting of the parish council.

The minutes state: “Cllr Murphy reported there was a new [West Berkshire Council] case officer for the Wessex Saw Mill and was informed the [district council] enforcement officer is making enquiries.

“The 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 Murphy.

“There is a meeting that is going to take place to discuss the findings from the enforcement officer’s investigation.”

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

On its website, under the heading ‘Remedying breaches of planning control’, the council states: “If a breach of planning control is identified, we’ll try and resolve issues by negotiation first.

“Most breaches are dealt with informally through the co-operation of the landowner or developer, either by removing unauthorised buildings, stopping unauthorised uses, or submitting a retrospective planning application.

“In other cases, if the landowner or developer will not co-operate, we may have to consider more formal action.”

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