by Sam Hawcroft
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 on August 18 heard of the strength of local feeling, 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 surrounding the proposed Brandesburton site.
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 conform 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 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, told the meeting: “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?”
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.
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.
Mr Olsen told the Gazette: “I am pleased with the outcome of Thursday’s planning committee. It was a difficult decision to reach but I believe it was the right one. The strength of feeling in our community sent a really clear message that Brandesburton isn’t a suitable location for an asphalt plant.”
Cllr Jane Evison added: “I, along with Brandesburton Parish Council and local residents, was delighted by the decision. Having spoken on two occasions to oppose the application, my reasons have remained the same – that being that the site at Brandesburton is entirely the wrong location for a development of this nature and there is also the question over environmental issues.
“I am very supportive of new business and hope that the applicant will endeavour to find an alternative site. For many years we have worked to create a quality tourism offer where people will visit and enjoy our lovely countryside. An asphalt plant is totally out of keeping and as one councillor pointed out, if a development needs so much screening to make it acceptable, then perhaps it just shouldn’t be there.”
Brandesburton resident Paul Wilkinson, a member of the Campaign to Reject Asphalt Plant group along with his wife Wendy, said it would have been a “terrible thing to happen to the village” – but he didn’t believe the fight was over.
“I don’t think for a minute we’ve heard the last of it,” he said. “But we’ll be ready.”
Newlay Asphalt has been approached for comment.