A local parish council in Widnes has called for Halton Council to be stripped of its planning powers after winning a judicial review to stop construction of a waste transfer station in Hale Bank.
Hale Bank Parish Council was granted permission by Justice Lewis this summer to challenge Halton’s decision to grant planning permission to the waste transfer station at Hale Bank Industrial Estate, and this has now been successful, halting construction on the site.
Veolia’s development at Hale Bank Industrial Estate was approved by Halton Council in January, by five votes to four. At the time of the committee, Hale Bank Council promised to legally challenge the decision as it went against planning policy, and objected on the grounds of increased traffic, noise, and smells. While the project is within the Industrial Estate, Hale Bank argued that the surrounding area was residential and therefore not a suitable location.
According to the parish council, if it had been completed, the waste transfer station would have seen Veoila to transport 85,000 tonnes of commercial and industrial waste and 40,000 tonnes of construction, demolition and excavation materials annually through Hale Bank, with up to 150 extra vehicles on the village roads every day, 90 of those being HGVs.
Following the High Court decision, which ruled in favour of the parish council, representatives accused Halton of “riding roughshod over planning laws”.
Acting chairman of the council, Cllr Kieran Reed said: “This is not a time for celebration. This decision should never have been made by Halton Council in the first place.
“Parish councillors attended the meeting where this decision was made and we told Halton to approve it would be unlawful and they carried on regardless.
“It beggars belief that Halton signed up to this with the other authorities and then chose to ignore it. This is just one of the reasons we will be writing to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to demand Halton loses its planning powers.
“We believe they are a disgrace and make their decisions based purely on economic need, riding roughshod over planning laws.
“The people of Hale Bank have had enough of this behaviour and it is totally wrong and unfair that they should be forced to engage in costly legal battles time and time again because of Halton Council’s legal decisions. It has to stop.”
This is the third time in recent years that Hale Bank has challenged a planning decision by Halton in the High Courts, and has been successful. In 2012, Hale Bank quashed the approval of a 1 million sq ft Amazon storage and distribution facility, and in the same year also successfully judicially reviewed another decision by Halton to refuse the creation of a new village green.
A spokesperson for Halton Borough Council said: “The council will implement the judge’s decision, the effect of which is to quash the existing planning permission. This now means that the planning application will require consideration again by the local planning authority.
“The judgement centres around a technical assessment of a policy within the Waste Local Plan and the level of information provided to the planning committee at the time of considering the application. This will need to be addressed when that re-consideration takes place.”