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The following is a complete transcript of the meeting organised by Brighton and Hove City Council on 18th July 2005 at Sallis Benney Hall to give information about how they were processing Onyx's (now named Veolia's) planning application and to allow experts representing Onyx to speak about the anticipated impacts of their scheme for a Waste Transfer Station and Materials Recovery Facility at Hollingdean Depot Brighton.
Officers from The Council included Jenny Rowlands (Director of Environment), Alan MacCarthy (Chief Executive of BHCC), Martin Randall (City Planner), Caroline Dwyer (Assistant Director for Sustainable Transport), Judith Macho (Assistant Director for Public Safety) and Tim Moore (Head of Operations CityClean).
Representative speaking for Onyx (Veolla) included John Collis (Project Director).
Martin Randall: I hope you undestand that it's really important for me to say early on that I can't express an opinion on the relative merits of the application. And I can't go into a detailed debate on the pros and cons of the scheme. That's why I think it is particularly helpful that Onyx are here today to talk about their scheme. If I did that of course it would prejudice the role of the Local Planning Authority and prejudice the role of our planning applications sub-committee. What I can do is talk about how we are dealing with the application. And the overall planning framework for dealing with the application. And obviously what I can do, is listen to the views that you express tonight.
Just to go back to the beginning, as you know, in February, we received the planning application for construction of a Materials Recovery Facility building, a Waste Transfer Station, a Visitors' Centre and Office building and related infrastructure and highways works. The application itself includes the plans of the development, a supporting statement, a sustainability statement, and a design statement. And crucially, an environmental impact assessment covering a whole series of issues such as landscape, traffic, air quality, noise, land use, contamination, hydrology and waste. And as Jenny said, a number of my colleagues are here tonight, and they can pick up in more detail some of those issues.
So where are we with this application? Well, up to now, what we've been doing is consulting on the proposal, and evaluating the responses of all consultees including members of the public. As a result we've asked the applicant for further information on a series of issues, and we have had some responses. We are awaiting further formal responses. These issues include traffic and transport, the best practible environmental option (often referred to as BPO), design and lanscaping, ventilation and sound insulation, and aspects such as ecology.
As a result of this, it is very likely that we will ask the applicant to amend the scheme. And any amendments to the scheme will be formally advertised and you will have the opportunity to comment further.
An important factor in determining the application, as I know a lot of you realise, will be the Development Plan Framework. Most of you know, part of the reason that we have received an application at all, is that the emerging Waste Local Plan has identified the site as a suitable location for a Materials Recovery Facility and Waste Transfer Station. The Waste Local Plan is at an advanced stage and has been the subject of a Public Inquiry where this allocation was supported by the government inspector. The Waste Local Plan is also supported by adopted Supplementary Planning Guidance for the site which sets out the Planning Framework in more detail. I have aa copy of the Supplementary Planning Guidance for the site. I can get copies for anybody who's interested.
Of course, all of that doesn't mean that any scheme for a MRF and WTS would automatically secure planning permission. Hence the process I referred to earlier. We also have a duty to consider the scheme against the requirements of our wider Local Plan. and to weigh up all the material planning considerations before making a recommendation to our councillors. As you would expect, the application will be determined by the City Council's planning applications sub-committee. The committee cycle is every three weeks. We don't have a supplementary date as yet. I think it's very likely at this stage, given the level of local interest, that we will have a special sub-committee meeting which will be well advertised in advance to consider this application and this application alone.
At an earlier meeting it was asked if this meeting would be a formal part of the planning process. Well, in the interests of being fair and equitable and on the basis that we don't hold meetings for every major development proposal that we receive in the city, I'm afraid the answer to that is "no". There is nothing to stop you however collectively and individually using the results of the discussion you have here tonight and conversations that you may have between yourselves in making formal submissions. And indeed I would urge you to do so. Because every written representation on the planning application is reported. Indeed that is my duty. We have a duty to report how many representations we receive and report on the issues that are raised to members of the planning applications sub-committee. So do take the opportunity to make a formal representation is my best planning advice.
That's in summary. I have prepared a list of FAQs which are around the planning process and they include issues like: when can I object, up until which point can I object? I'm more than happy to make those available. I might plonk some on the stage.
John Collis: Good evening. I'm John Collis, project director for Onyx South Down. What I'd like to do is run through some aspects of the planning application we've made for a Waste Transfer Station and Materials Recovery Facility and a Visitors' Centre - Education Centre - on the Hollingdean site.
First of all, you can see the site here. I've outlined it. This is the boundary of the site of our planning application. You can see on the upper part of the area, there are a lot of old buildings. The site has been used more recently for vehicle storage and vehicle transport, although it is now currently stopped. The lower section of the site has been used for storage of wheelie bins before they are distributed to the residents.
Why this site? When we were looking for a site, we reviewed a great number of sites. An we reviewed these sites on a number of different background reasons and we sifted through them and reduced the number progressively. This site has come out the best and we've included within the Environmental Statement our reasonings and our arguments for this site being the best. It is within the Waste Local Plan, but it has a lot of synergies with the adjacent site, the Council depot.
Traffic development - this is an issue that's quite important clearly. And I am aware it's the one which brings the most concern. There is already a lot of traffic movement in the area. From a point of view of this planning application, we will add to the current background 33 vehicles in and 33 vehicles out. Those vehicles will access the site from the Vogue Gyratory System and leave via the same route. The vehicles that we propose to use are articulated lorries. We currently buy Mercedes and they are to Euro 4 standards.
The site itself - you can see. Unfortunately, this is rotated from the first slide, but you can see we have changed the entrance to the site from the point of view of the road access currently in Hollingdean Lane. We've moved it up Hollingdean Road and brought it in to a roundabout that distributes into the Meat Market and up the road into our site.
We have also planned to revise Hollingdean Road's access underneath the bridge. Currently, it hits it at an angle and it makes the movement under the bridge quite difficult because you can't clearly see what's coming through under the bridge. I will say that there hasn't been a record of accidents that have had injuries associated with it, because they are the only ones which get reported to us. But we do feel that it's a difficult situation and will be revised.
You can see then at out site entrance - the red is the weigh-bridge house - each side of the red unit are two weigh bridges. One is the in weighbridge, the other is the out weigbridge. The building to the left is the Materials Recovery Facility, the Waste Transfer Station to the right, and the grey unit is the Visitors' Centre - Education Centre. The circular green area is a car park.
So that is the picture of the site without our development and that's what it would look like with our development. I'll go backwards and forwards a couple of times so that you can see the change. And from a different direction you can see the addition of the development and the change it would bring.
From a point of view of the quality of the building, we've designed a high quality building. This is the view you would get from higher up Hollingdean Lane. You can see that the low level unit is the weighbridge, the Transfer Station is the larger building there and the one to the right of us as we're viewing it is the Materials Recovery Facility.
The refuse vehicles will remain parked at their depot when they're parked. When they are delivering tou our facilties, they are obviously not parked. The upper left hand picture here is looking up Hollingdean Lane towards the weighbridge and the Materials Recovery Facility. And the right hand picture is that of the Education Centre / Visitors' Centre. And that is the end of my presentation.
Member of the public: the main question I want to ask is that I imagine that having a Waste Transfer Station in order to make greater use of the dustcarts and that they will be doing more work - how many additional dustcart journeys will there be? You mention 33 lorries. Those are the huge lorries, aren't they. How many additional dustcart journeys will there be?
Tim Moore (head of operations at CityClean): In terms of additional dustcart journeys, we haven't actually worked that out yet [audience groans] Sorry, my name's Tim More, I'm head of operations at CityClean. In terms of additional vehicles, there won't be any additional vehicles. Some of the vehicles may carry out extra tips if there's the capacity. But until that's worked out, we couldn't tell you.
Jenny Rowlands: There's no additional vehicles, but some might tip more than once a day. [That's correct.] And that will be dependent on other things including waste growth in the city.
Member of the public (Clare): I want to ask how many times a day do the dustcarts currently empty their loads. My understanding is that that's going to be a journey in and a journey out for each dustcart.
Tim Moore: About three quarters of our dustcarts empty once a day, with the remaining quarter emptying twice. How many dustcarts? There are currently 19 in operation. Just to make myself clear, three quarters of them tip once a day - empty once a day - so they go in once an hour. The remainder would go in twice and out twice. That's what currently happens as they're travelling to landfill. The kerbside vehicles are currently tipping once a day.
Member of the public: Can you tell me the logic, because I think a lot of people would support a more localised way of dealing with recycling and waste - why is it that we've got one site for the whole of the city? You talked about other options being considered. Well, I can think of places like Home Farm and places like that at the top of my head - handily along the railway line as well. So why is it necessary for these two processes to be on the same site? There seems to be no connection. So why is it that it happens to be that the Hollingdean Abattoir Site is the ideal place for both facilties?
Martin Randall: Just picking up from the sort of formal planning framework and the development plan that I mentioned earlier. Our Local Plan and our Development Plan Framework doesn't preclude other sites coming forward. That''s an important message to make clear. However, our Waste Local Plan does allocate this site. It also allocates a site at Hangleton Bottom for a MRF and WTS. It's important to say that both of those sites remain allocated within the plan. I'll ask our representative from Onyx to talk about the particular application.
John Collis: From the point of view of this site, there are a lot of synergies associated with the Depot being next door. As you have heard, most of the vehicles - nearly all the vehicles in fact - only discharge once a day. So that means they'll leave their depot, drive around the city collecting material. And when they come back to park up, they'll go into our site and discharge. So effectively, there won't be any more movements at all associated with that. And you ask the question of why only one facility? If the vehicles are going back to there anyway, it would seem logical to only have one facility. We do have another facility that already has planning: Leighton Road Transfer Station. And that will continue to operate for certain elements of the waste.
Member of the public: My I ask, what is the weight loaded and unloaded of these vehicles?
John Collis: Their total road legal weight is 44 tonnes. And they would at that stage be carrying between 22 and 24 tonnes of product. So they weigh around 20 tonnes themselves.
Member of the public: Clearly traffic is a major consideration for everybody here. I understand that there is to be a Waste Transfer Station as well as an MRF. How many lorries a day would go to - God forbid - your proposed incinerator in Newhaven?
John Collis: there will be 33 loads a day. That's 66 movements in total. And if I were to guess, because I don't know exactly the split, I would say that two thirds would go to Newhaven and one third would be product leaving the MRF to go to a recycler.
Member of the public: I saw on your website. You were talking about recycling batteries. However, when I went to the local place where to take recyclables, there is no facility for recycling batteries. Can you confirm that you would be able to do that?
John Collis: That would not be part of this planning application. You are referring to the HWRSs and I'm afraid I don't have that knowledge with me.
Member of the public: Well it's on your website that that's one of the things you are going to do.
John Collis: I will look into it.
Member of the public: You say that there's 33 lorries that are going to be going out a day now. What I'm worried about is how long before that's increased? How much have you thought ahead? This depot - is it going to be able to cope? Because it's 33 lorries now?
John Collis: The 33 lorries pertain to the site handling 160,000 tonnes of materials. Currently, we're taking about 107,000 tonnes. So if you assume increases over the duration of our contract, we quite likely, but not certainly, would not go above that number. What you're asking me to speculate on is the increase in waste year on year from now for twenty years. No one can do that.
Member of the public: Just to help my question could perhaps Mr Randall tell us what the advertised price is of the documentation he described to us - the Environmental Impact documentation?
Martin Randall: To be absolutely clear, that as with everything in the planning process including all the details of the application, the correspondence with the Local Authority and all applicants, it's all a matter of public record and is publicly available. Mr Scott. The specific answer is that I don't know what the price of the document is, I don't know if we would charge for photocopying - it's all available for inspection. It's absolutely clear.
Member of the public: So my question is to Mr McCarthy, our Chief Executive. It's on e-government issues. Mr McCarthy, I think you ought to feel very privileged that there's so much public involvement in this major application. What I'd like to put to you is: given that price for the environmental paperwork. Given the fact that many of the people concerned live a long way from Hove Town Hall, will... can the Council, even in conjunction with Onyx, put all that printed material on a website? And as Mr Randall has very helpfully pointed out, the Planning Officer's case file - all the correspondence - so that everyone who is interested of an evening, on a weekend, can look at all the documentation involved with the application. Thank you.
Martin Randall: As a Local Planning Authority, this information is free for public inspection. I would have thought that our only charge might relate to photocopying. I'm a bit concerned that this £120 that's been mentioned is perhaps from another source. If you go to the applicant, it may be that Onyx wish to charge you, and that's clearly their call. Let's just pick up on the point about photocopying, the last thing that a Local Authority would want to do and in fact it's out duty not to do, is hide information. So perhaps we ought to talk about how we can get this information to you so that people who want to see it can have a copy. I'm more than happy to do that.
Alan McCarthy (Chief executive of BHCC): Can I just respond to that. I mean what we will do is to look at all the ways possible for us to make the information available to as many people as possible. One of the things which we do have to think about is the cost of that because at the end of the day, it's the Council Tax Payer that has to bear the cost. I have just said that we will look at all the ways. If we can put it on the website, we will do so, and that's a commitment.
Member of the public: This is all very interesting. We're not really getting many answers. But even assuming this is the most hygenic, dirt/dust-free, environmental friendly scheme that could ever be invented. Even taking that for granted, the whole thing falls down on the number of vehicles travelling on that road between Lewes Gyratory, which those of us who live here know what Lewes Gyratory is. It's a nightmare in itself. The whole scheme in the centre of the city. You couldn't get it nearer unless you put it in Steine Gardens. You couldn't get it nearer the centre of the city. The whole scheme falls down on the transport schism and the road traffic that will be involved. It's an appalling thought. And even assuming everything else is perfect, it collapses on that.
Caroline Dwyer (Assistant Director of Sustainable Transport): I'll stick to process since I can't comment on the specifics of the application while it's a live application. But part of the process is for us to assess all the transport movements that would be associated with this development, where they would be routed, and to look at their impact on congestion and road safety. And we will be doing a robust assessment of that.
Jenny Rowlands: And all of that information will be public and form part of the report? [Yes, OK].
Member of the public: Question for John Collis. I'm assuming that Onyx have done a long-term business plan of the works that they're doing or propose to do at Hollingdean. If they found that they were suffering unsustainable losses, what would actually happen to the services that are being built?
John Collis: In terms of the contract that we have, we have a long-term contract which covers 25 years to handle, process and manage, through an integrated waste management system the waste arising in East Sussex and Brighton & Hove. The facility at Hollingdean is only one facility that we're putting together. Our business plan is robust. The issue that you're referring to was a tender that was made under compulsory competitive tendering and there was clearly a mistake made. I can assure you that a similar mistake is not made in this case.
Member of the public: Hi there. There's been a fair amount of talk this evening about the number of vehicles. What I'm interested in: in the information that was sent out recently it says that there will be 200 vehicle movements in and 200 vehicle movements out of the site per day. Now taking your proposed core hours of 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. that works out at roughly one vehicle either in or out of the site in just over every minute and a half. So referring back to that gentleman just over the other side in terms of the traffic problems around the Gyratory around Sainsbury's, that's going to be horrendous. Not only that, but just in terms of a vehicle going past somebody's front door or front window every minute and a half, that's a fair amount of aggravation.
Caroline Dwyer: That was a statement rather than a question. I can't comment on the vehicle movements. I'll hand over to John Collis to do that. But what I'm telling you is that our role as the Local Authority will be to feed the relevant traffic figures into existing traffic flows and to look at the capacity and to assess the effect on congestion and road safety of any additional traffic.
John Collis: All I can say is that the traffic levels that pertain at the moment. The only addition to them as a result of this planning application is 33 movements in and 33 movements out. And they will use the Vogue Gyratory system and the road out towards Lewes. The existing traffic movements will deliver the waste to us. The only additional traffic is associated with taking the waste away. Basically, a WTS receives waste and then utilises larger vehicles with a single operator to transfer that waste. It is a more efficient way to do it.
The problem is currently that a lot of your dustcarts are going quite a long way to dispose of their waste. That isn't really sustainable from an environmental viewpoint. But, if we get permission for the Newhaven Energy Recovery Facility, it will mean that they will travel a great deal further. There is also the problem that within relatively short time, the landfill site they're currently using will have used up all of its void. And then, we are likely to be having to transfer the waste out of County because that would be then the nearest landfill. Now clearly to run these vehicles those long distances, would probably stop them from dealing with even one load a day. So it is the appropriate way to manage waste.
Jenny Rowlands: There's a question about waste disposal and waste collection so that I will ask Alan to comment.
Alan McCarthy (Chief executive of BHCC): May I just make a more general point. I suspect you all know this, but the general point I want to make is this. At the moment, all the waste that we create in Brighton and Hove is dealt with outside of Brighton and Hove. That includes all of the municipal waste. It includes all of the trade waste. And it will include all of our liquid waste. As a city, we do need to think about the sustainability of that. We do need to think about the responsibility that we have to deal with that waste. At the moment the waste that is likely to go into Hollingdean Depot and we collect around the city goes to two landfill sites. That is unsustainable in itself - landfill. The sites we've got will be full by about 2008.
Alternative ways of dealing with that waste are very unlikely to be available to us. And therefore, we face the scenario of the vehicles that currently collect your waste travelling to somewhere in the Midlands or elsewhere, travelling right across Brighton, right across other Counties to deal with the waste that we all produce here. So we have got to look at a more sustainable way of dealing with our waste.
Somebody has said landfill is not the answer. Clearly landfill is not the answer. And what we are looking to do and its what we're looking to do by our kerbside recycling, by our household waste sites, is increase the amount that we recycle. Even the best countries recycle about 50%. [Audience reaction] We can get into the argument of 50% or 65%, but what do you do with the other 35%? There is only two ways by the laws of physics that you can actually deal with the remaining 35% and that's either through landfill, which we're going to be prohibited from doing in the future, or by treating it in some other way, and energy from waste is the only other way to deal with the remaining material. [Audience reaction] Energy from waste is the only way for dealing with that material. And we have gone through an incredibly thorough site search to identify how we can deal with our own waste. Inevitably, this is going to be very controversial and we need to make sure that any application that we look at that very carefully to make sure there aren't any or there are minimised adverse impacts on local communities. But we do have a responsibility as a city to deal with our waste.
Child: Why is the dump getting built by my school?
Jenny Rowlands: The short answer is, as it was said earler on, that the site - the empty space - that's been proposed, near your school, it has been decided that it could be suitable for a MRF and WTS - what you call the Dump. If your next question is: is it safe for it to be near a school, I'd quite like Judith Macho, who is the assistant director of Public Health to give an update on our discussions with the Director of Public Health. Thank you.
Judith Macho (assistant director of Public Health): Officers in the Council look at the planning application for a range of issues which include pollution, air quality, noise, etc. But clearly, there's been particular health issues raised about this application. So we have sent the application through to the Health Protection Agency and currently doctors working within that agency are looking at the planning application, and will be commenting on it. And those comments will be part of the planning application process and will be included in the planning officers' report, as was discussed earlier on, which will be a public document. So that is being independently assessed by the Health Protection Agency.
Jenny Rowland: Yes. That will be publicly available.
Member of the public: I've been involved with audits for the last 20 years of my life. I'm a fellow of the International Institute of Risk and Safety Management. If ever we would say that was a Risk Assessment carried out, we would say that is was either BSE and I so 14001 which is environmental or O 18001 which is health and safety. Taking into account the times that we live with aspects of terrorist activities, does your audit cover every aspect of moving and movement - if there's a fire. What is your F audit based on? What are the quality principles behind the audit?
John Collis: The operation of our sites are under QA 9,001. We operate under 9,000 2,000 and we also have 14,001 on all of our sites. And if this site gets planning permission, it will be operated under those ratios. well, it's a form of management where you are looking to take the appropriate care on what you do and how you do it both from a quality point of view and from an environmental point of view. But the gentleman of course knows the jargon. That's why I was replying in jargon.
Member of the public: I'll put my question in context that someone mentioned the 200 vehicle movement in and out of the site. This is the document that was prepared by Onyx. It says that half of these movements 100 in and 100 out are already being made by CityClean vehicles using the depot and these will continue. The remaining 100 movements in and out of the site will be new and directly attributable to the MRF and to the WTS. Not 33 vehicles. Not 33. And Onyx prepared this. The question is - we thoroughly enjoyed the picture you showed us of the 44 tonne lorries with the 4 hunky guys standing there. Could we actually see a clearer picture that might give us the dimensions. In fact, John, could you give us the dimensions? And could we see a picture - it would be really nice to see a picture with a small child standing next to it. Because that's going to be the reality. And if you can't, we can.
Jenny Rowlands: Can I just clarify, The FAQs paper that you referred to was prepared by Council Officers and Onyx on all movements. John...
John Collis: The width of the vehicle is 2.36 metres on the outside of the wing mirrors. It is 17.1 metres long and a height of 4.2 metres. And that is a standard articulated lorry that goes on the UK roads. Those lorries -- lorries of the same size - are already accessing Hollingdean Lane. They are used by the Meat Market.
Member of the public: I can see how when this site was designated and Hollingdean sort of wasn't there - so the site was on the outskirts of the city - it was a perfectly pratical and reasonable arrangement. However, that's not so, is it. This site is surrounded by housing and schools and our living. I can see no point to be honest. It seems to me to be close to being laughable really to try and pretend that it's fine for 44 tonne lorries [applause]. On an ordinary day, at about 3 p.m. the traffic can back up from the Vogue Gyratory system back to the Hollingbury Pub solid. So from the traffic lights right up to the bridge under the bridge back up past the depot. That's no additional traffic. That's an average ordinary day.
So anybody who suggests that we should add to that, even by a little: well it ain't very bright, is it? So that's my first point. My second is that, I may have got this wrong, but I believe I'm right in saying that part and parcel of their plan: they propose to close Hollingdean Lane to cars. Now I may be wrong about that, but I'm sure I'll get told if I am. If that is the plan: I don't want to do that. I use that little road. It's very useful and I don't see any point in closing it. So really what I'm saying to the assembled company in the room is: I would have thought the challenge to us is, first of all to defeat this proposal. And it looks as though we're getting a bit organised and that's very nice to see. But then, why don't we change the use of that site. After all, it's a very pleasant piece of land. I would have thought that it's quite an attractive arrangement for the residents of Hollingdean to see a leisure and sports use of that site and to encourage the return of some small businesses which I understand have been chased off that site. So the challenge is for us to organise and get these things done.
Martin Randall: Can I just come back with three facts if you like which relate to the development plan framework which I referred to earlier and relate directly to what this gentleman was saying. The first thing to say is that the site already has an allocation in our Local Plan for businesses uses, and I think it's very important that people are aware of that. Two other things really to say which relate to what the government inspector said in relation to The Waste Local Plan. He clearly determined that this was an appropriate site for MRF / WTS. However, he did pick up - I'm not going to get into the detailed issues about the lorries because you may want to come back to Onyx on that one - he did pick up that a key consideration in any planning application that comes forward will need to be residential amenity and in particular the impact of vehicle movements. And again that text is free for you to see. It's there. I have it here. You're very welcome to inspect it.
Jenny Rowlands: The point about Hollingdean Lane closing - I think John will pick up.
John Collis: I did ask the question if Hollingdean Lane could be bollarded to prevent vehicles travelling all the way through because there are a number of vehicles that are going the wrong way down the one-way section at the top of it. And I felt that it would be hepful if they weren't. I've been told that that is not possible and that I have accepted.
Member of the public: Can I remind Mr Collis and Mr McCarthy that Inspector Newman in the public inquiry stated in his report that it's no longer appropriate to use the term Energy Recovery Facility for an incinerator. When referring to an incinerator, you should use the term "incinerator". In the scheme of things, when we think of recycling, the next upstream process from recyling is reprocessing of materials. So when we recycle materials and they go to the Waste Transfer Station, Onyx sell those materials on as commodities with value per tonne to reprocessors somewhere else in the country possibly. Whereas why aren't Onyx or why aren't the Council thinking in terms of bringing reprocessing industries to the plan area like ESCC and BHCC to reprocess materials to add value to the materials.
John Collis: I would wholly support that. I think that everything should be done to encourage industrialists to build facilities in the south of England. Not necessarily in East Sussex, but in the south of England. Most of the reprocessors are towards the north of England. So I would greatly support it and certainly we would work with any industrialists who wanted to reprocess materials locally.
Alan McCarthy: May I just come back on another general point because a lot of what we've been talking about tonight in terms of future lorry meovements in future activity is going to be dependent on how much waste we produce in the future. The real key to this is waste minimisation in the first place. An we all in this room - the Council has to facilitate as much as possible - is to try and get to the point of minimising the waste we produce in the first place. And if you look at the packaging that we get in supermarkets, if you look at the bags that we all use, that is where the real impact can be made in terms of waste growth in the future.
Member of the public: This is to Martin. You said earlier that using Hollingdean didn't mean that you were no longer considering using other potential sites. Can you tell us why you are still considering a new commercial use for the Sackville Goods Yard?
Martin Randall: The allocation for Sackville Goods Yard - that remains in our Waste Local Plan. And is indeed allocated as a site for potential transfer from road to rail, as I understand, which obviously would be a sustainable option, if that's helpful. Or a more sustainable option.
Member of the public: Then why are you promoting a change of use?
Martin Randall: I think the term "promoting" is quite emotive. As the Local Planning Authority, clearly we have to deal with every application that comes before us and deal with each one on its merits, is really my objective answer.
Member of the public: There's already buses outside the main entrance of Downs Junior School, which are having children coming off and on frequently. At what speed are these waste truck things going to be coming up the road?
John Collis: The vehicles that I've been referring to - the 33 - will not go past the front of the school. The vehicles that currently go past will continue to go past. They're the refuse collection vehicles.
Caroline Dwyer: This is not strictly related to the planning application, but we understand that Ditchling Road is a very busy road. Traffic in the order of 10,000 vehicles a day - that's between 7am and 7pm - go along Ditchling Road. And we have had requests from residents in the area to look at several safety and traffic issues. And we've been talking recently to the schools. So we are looking, irrespective of the planning application [You have not!] We are looking at existing traffic to make sure that it's distributed in the most appropriate way through the area, to assess all the existing accident risks in the area and identify appropriate measures to address those, and to use the "safe routes to schools" design principles to identify improvements to pedestrians in the area on their journeys to school.
Jenny Rowlands: we did go up outside of the school because some parents asked us to. It was after peak time and we did say that we realised that. By invitation. And we received a log from the parents on what they think the traffic movements are. What Caroline Dwyer said was: that is an extremely busy road: 10,000 movements a day. There have been separate traffic calming measures in the area. What the LA is doing now is to look as a whole to see if it would be easier for children to cross those road safely.
Member of the public: I'm a parent of a child at Downs Junior School. and the difficulty of walking to school safely is enormous. Because those lorries have started coming up Rugby Road increasingly. And you talk about safe routes through and working out what's the best route. Actually Rugby Road is pretty much their only option. But it's a terrible road to come up. All the kids are crossing over there, and I don't know what all the people who live on that street think. But children are crossing that road unaccompanied with those huge lorries coming through and there is already a terrible traffic problem there in the first place. And there is increased flow, and there will be increased flow.
Member of the public: How's it going to smell? I think it's going to smell. and I don't really care about your health and safety reports going in later because I want to know now is: which is going to be the smelliest part of that site? Are the kids in the Infant School going to be affected by that. Because it's their first years of schooling. They're very vulnerable anyway. You know, if your child isn't in tip top or great health, just a smell of that down the road is going to put them off going through that gate. Now I heard a great rumour the other day. I heard that if there's a problem at the school...if too many children are finding it difficult because of the smell, it's alright...they'll re-site the school. That's what I heard. Then it becomes a problem for the education department rather than the waste people. But what I want to know is: is it going to be alright for the kids in that Infants School?
John Collis: The truth of the matter is that if waste is stored for too long, it will start to smell. The issue is one of removing the waste on the day it arrives or the day directly afterwards. The Transfer Station is actually the further unit away from the school. And if anythink could be called smelly, that could be. That's the one that takes the black bag waste. What goes into the MRF - the Materials Recovery Facility - is the stuff that you've put out to be recycled. You are asked to wash it out [ audience reaction].
Jenny Rowlands: Alan can you answer on the Waste Department versus the Local Education Authority?
Alan McCarthy: clearly what we have to do is assess this - our planning officers and the planning committee have to do. And if there is that level of adverse impact on the school, then it won't be allowed as a facility. Our experts are going to be - I think Judith Macho had already mentioned this - our experts are independent people who are the public health - not paid by us, no. They're public health people. Dr Angelo Iversen...
Jenny Rowlands: what we promised last time was to contact...there has been one smaller meeting. What we promised which we were asked to do was to ask them to be involved in the assessment of the application. And that's what I think Judith covered earlier and she can restate now.
Also of possible interest (longer meeting):
23rd June 2005 Public meeting with BHCC & Veolia. at The Downs Infants School [full transcript including what The Council and Veolia promised]
2nd February 2006 Dump The Dump campaign meeting at the Downs Infant school Brighton [complete transcript]
The Case Officer's full report [113 pages]
BH2006/00900 Approved 19th June 2006This page was last updated by Ted on 12-Mar-2023