19 April 2024

Plans for controversial asphalt plant near Brandesburton refused

An application to build an asphalt plant near Brandesburton has been refused by East Riding Council’s planning committee.

Dewsbury-based Newlay Asphalt and MB Goodwin (Skipsea) had proposed to create a facility on the old RAF Catfoss base with the ability to process up to 100 tonnes of asphalt per hour.

The planning meeting yesterday (August 18) heard of the strength of local feeling towards the proposals, with 479 objections, and more than 600 public comments logged on the council’s planning portal.

The application had been deferred in July so members of the planning committee could go on a site visit to Newlay Asphalt’s plant in Dewsbury.

Brandesburton Parish Council vice-chairman Adrian Olsen spoke on behalf of the residents, saying the plans had caused “significant and widespread anxiety” among the local community, and that the development was “unnecessary and wholly inappropriate”. He also raised concerns about the potential chemical emissions and the severe impact on nearby local businesses.

Mr Olsen said he had also visited Newlay’s Dewsbury site, pointing out that it was sited among other heavy industrial facilities, as opposed to open countryside and farmland, where the Brandesburton site would have been.

Jamie Brown, operations director at Newlay Asphalt, told the meeting that the company was aware of local feeling, but rejected suggestions that the plant would produce harmful pollution.

He said many of the objections were based on a “Google article” about asphalt plants in the USA, where it is common practice to use heavy fuel oils in the process of drying the aggregate – but this is not the case in the UK, where lighter fuels with a higher per cent of bio-oils are used.

All UK asphalt plants, said Mr Brown, are required to confirm to strict environmental regulations, and he stressed that Newlay’s operations and materials all complied to stringent British standards.

Mr Brown said the company had noted the concerns around landscaping, and “as a direct consequence” it had amended the scheme, ensuring further opportunities to mitigate the visual impact and improve biodiversity. He added that the proposed site already had planning permission for industrial use, and pointed out that East Riding Council’s planning officers had agreed it was an acceptable scheme.

He reiterated that building a plant in East Yorkshire would significantly cut down the current need for lorries to travel and from Dewsbury.

Councillor John Whittle, who was among those who visited the Dewsbury site, strongly objected to the proposals. He said: “How on earth could they possibly consider plonking a massive industrial site bang in the middle of the open countryside away from the actual industrial park itself?”

He also raised concerns over the levels of dust that could be released into the atmosphere, as well as the impact on tourism, although committee chairman Cllr Leo Hammond pointed out there was only anecdotal evidence for both of these issues.

Cllr Jane Evison also spoke against the plans, citing the potential impact on local businesses and nearby farmers.

Cllr Nick Coultish, of Goole North, was among those in favour, and argued that there was “no noise, no smell and no dust” 50 metres away during the visit to the Dewsbury site, so he could not see any impact on residents in Brandesburton.

After Cllr Hammond’s closing speech in which he said he would, on balance, support the move for refusal, planning committee members voted 9-2 to refuse the application based on the grounds that it could be damaging to the rural surroundings, and that the heavy industrial nature of the plant would be out of character with the area.

Newlay Asphalt has been approached for comment.