Business keeps installed machinery as retrospective plans are passed

A business has been allowed to keep plant and machinery installed before it secured planning permission at a Stafford industrial site.

Tilcon Avenue, Baswich, Stafford. Photo: Google Maps
Tilcon Avenue, Baswich, Stafford. Photo: Google Maps

Two silos for sand and cement, measuring 13 metre and 14 metre tall, and an eight metre tall sand hopper were installed at Webbs Yard in Tilcon Avenue, Baswich.

But 80 people objected to the retrospective application submitted to Stafford Borough Council. Neighbours living nearby have said noise impact is unacceptable and an acoustic fence is required around the plant. The development has also been described as an eyesore in a rural area.

The application was recommended for approval by planning officers however. And on Wednesday planning committee members voted to pass the retrospective plans.

In a written statement read out at a recent meeting Janet Hodson, speaking in support of the application, said: “There is no threat to the amenity of residential properties that lie beyond the main line railway to the north.

“The site in question lies within an established operating industrial estate where there are a full variety of employment uses being carried out, including an existing concrete batching plant. The plant and machinery that are proposed in this application are therefore located in the most appropriate designation for this kind of activity.

“The premises are believed to have been vacant for several years before my client took them over and he relocated from elsewhere in the borough. The business employs 13 people and is an important and established local employer.

“There is no planning issue over the use of the existing buildings’ current use; the application relates solely to the external plant. There are no objections from any of the standard consultees, there isn’t any highways impact, or impact on the canal conservation area or environmental health.”

Ward councillor Marnie Phillips called the application in for consideration by the planning committee. The reasons were “constructing and opening the facility without planning permission and additional necessary licences, nuisance to local residents caused by lighting, noise, dust and increase in heavy goods traffic”.

She said: “Having been contacted by several residents I have called this application in. This retrospective application has caused monumental amounts of stress and impacted greatly on the mental health of some neighbouring residents.

“Whilst I appreciate it’s a brownfield site the waste company have built this facility during a pandemic, at night and on a weekend, with no planning application in place. It’s disgraceful and in insult to this authority and officers, who work so hard to ensure applications not only fall within the law but mitigate any damage to the lives of locals.

“Had they worked with the relevant officers the building would have undoubtedly been erected facing the opposite direction, we wouldn’t be here now and my residents would have been supportive. The majority of responses are based on the impact of noise this site produces.

“It’s evident from this there is significant noise nuisance being experienced by adjacent residential occupiers and further afield as a result of the development. It’s so extreme that one resident has had to secure a bank loan to allow double-glazed windows to be fitted in their house, and the noise is still extreme and impacting on the health of the family.”

Committee member and fellow Baswich ward councillor Ann Edgeller backed Councillor Phillips’ comments.

She said: “This has caused a major problem within the area and this noise generated from this industrial site has caused problems. You can hear it, but you do get the noise from the railway as well balancing it out.

“I would like to think we put some sort of barrier up so it’s not being viewed by the public from Danta Way and Cypress Close.”

Councillor Anne Hobbs said: “I know somebody who lives near here. People feel around there it was quite a nice rural idyll and it isn’t now – it’s overlooked, there’s more flooding. They’ve really got concerns.”

Councillor Peter Jones said: “I’m always nervous when it’s a retrospective application because the thing is built and if we decide to go against approving the application it will go to appeal. The appeal will say it’s already built and they won’t knock it down.”

But Councillor Aidan Godfrey said: “It is unfortunate to say the least the planning application didn’t go in in the first place. Having said that it is a designated industrial area and industrial building. It does seem to fit all the criteria and I’m afraid I can’t see anything wrong with this.”

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