LAST YEAR, cllr John Purkiss described the adjournment of an application in relation to Mucking tip as “We have won the battle but not the war.”
On Monday, residents and campaigners won another hugely significant battle as against the recommendation of their officers, members of Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation’s (DC) planning committee took heed of emotive speeches from borough councillors and voted to block plans by Mucking Tip operators Cory Environmental to increase the number of lorries dumping soil at the site.
Despite the decision, Cllr Barry Palmer has warned there may still be one last battle to fight.
“I’ve said it before, but this is only a win in a battle, the war will probably go on if Cory appeal, but it’s another step closer to ending this blight on our lives,” he said afterwards.
Cllr Palmer has been at the forefront of the fight against the tip for many years, campaigning in vain against previous extensions to the tip’s life – but his emotive arguments helped sway planners at Monday’s meeting.
He led the way in speaking against plans by Cory to keep dumping soil on the site for the next five years – arguing that nearby residents would be happy to have less lorries over a longer time – or better still, move the soil by river.
He said: “On 10 November last year this committee resolved to defer this application pending discussions regarding alternative options that would minimise impacts on the roads and residents.
“Local residents were optimistic and took comfort from this decision, genuinely believing that at last their concerns and objections were being seriously listened to.
“One must appreciate the intimidation and life-threatening dangers from speeding HGVs on inadequate road conditions that are made worse by slurried mud deposits during inclement weather.
“We have already suffered serious accidents and countless minor incidents relating to HGVs. To increase the number of lorry movements while at the same time extending the timescale for delivery would be disastrous for those residents living on, and all those brave enough to use Walton Hall Road, which is of course a primary route to St Clere’s School and Stanford-le-Hope.
“Enough is enough, and once again and true to form, Cory have failed to meet their planning obligations.
“It is Cory’s responsibility to overcome the problem and make use of alternatives and not be given the soft option requiring five years of further misery and danger to local residents.”
Alistair Holl, speaking on behalf of Cory, denied that the company had broken promises and that the company were trying to save money. Responding to accusations that Cory had “gambled and lost” he said: “Despite what you have heard this is not a financial ploy.
“There hasn’t been and never was a gamble by Cory. It is quite simply that the demand for soil is in excess of one million cubic metres and to meet the needs of the site and to meet our deadline to the standards of the environment agency we need this application.”
Members of the planning committee then debated the issue and in the end five of them voted against the application, with one abstention.