Cheshire East’s strategic planning board is now recommended to approve plans for the facility, deferred in June amid fervent opposition.
On that initial application, the local authority’s planning officers had recommended refusal, although there is no issue with the proposal in allocation terms within the local plan.
Previously used as a vehicle recovery depot, the site sits on the edge of an established industrial estate, and the applicant 1st Choice Waste & Metals intends to use several buildings already on site.
Already operational at Moss Lane in the town, 1st Choice needs to move due to its current site being required for housing, so the protection of 40 jobs is also a factor in play.
The intention is for the site to be used as a recycling centre for the tipping, sorting and storage of dry, non-hazardous mixed general wastes from household, commercial, construction and demolition sources from the applicant’s collections around the Macclesfield area.
The proposal, which is being assessed by the council’s top planning committee after being referred up from the local northern committee last year, aroused a welter of opposition ahead of its earlier hearings, with 250 objections coming from individuals, along with Macclesfield Town Council and two councillors.
Much of the debate in June, and many of the objections, refer to the potential volume of heavy goods vehicle traffic, and that other access points should be considered.
In response, officers point out that alternative access points have been discounted, and that the site was allowed to operate in its previous role without any limits on HGV traffic.
At June’s meeting, the applicant proposed a limit on HGV trips: 50 a day (25 in, 25 out) – reduced from 70. 1st Choice also proposed a routing plan to keep traffic from terraced streets for its vehicles, which will make up virtually all of the site traffic
Documentation since provided by the applicant’s advisor Oaktree Environmental puts those commitments in black and white.
The officers’ report concludes that with the “fallback” position of the site’s previous use allowing unlimited traffic, refusal would likely mean defeat for the council at appeal.
Officers said that although there could be some harm to amenity associated with HGV movements, “these impacts are not sufficient on their own to warrant refusal of the application and are outweighed by the significant strategic and economic benefits presented by the proposal”.