Watsons of Bedlington wants to change the use of an existing building and yard it owns, off Barrington Road, into a CD&E (construction, demolition and excavation) waste recycling facility.
The building is currently vacant, but it was last occupied by Roadsafe, which used it as a depot for the storage and maintenance of their vehicles.
As part of its business, Watsons, which is based at a site on the opposite side of Red Row Drive to the application site, hires out skips, with the waste then taken to Remondis, also on Barrington Road, for onwards recycling.
This proposal, which was lodged with Northumberland County Council last month, is to take the waste collected in the skips – currently around 3,000 tonnes a year – and recycle it itself within the existing building, creating a secondary aggregate for sale.
A planning statement as part of the application says: ‘It is estimated, when averaged over a year, that the operation would result in approximately one skip wagon (one movement in and one movement out) a day. However, due to the fluctuations in the requirements of a skip business, there will be days when a total of four loaded vehicles (eight vehicle movements in total) may enter the site.’
The document notes that there are no restrictions on operating hours or vehicle movements applying to the site at present.
It goes on to say that ‘there is no intention to crush or screen any recycled material on the site’, given that Watsons operates Shadfen Landfill and can use the equipment there if necessary.
The proposed operating hours are 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 1pm on Saturday, with HGVs accessing the site from 7.30am, ‘as they do at present’.
The statement concludes that the change of use is supported by planning policy and that the noise and transport assessments show that there will be no significant impacts.
However, the council’s public protection team has objected to the scheme at this stage, saying there is insufficient evidence that the proposal would meet planning requirements.
It has also sparked 28 objections from residents so far, with the neighbour consultation period open until Friday, July 10.
Concerns include increased dust, noise and traffic, with some pointing out that this new development would exacerbate the impacts of the Remondis and Sleekburn facilities.
One objector, Beverley Duncan, says: ‘I don’t think it is really fair on residents if Northumberland continues to approve planning permission for building houses close to industrial estates and then approve planning for expansion of dirty, smelly and unsafe practices on the industrial estates also.’