Alarm over new waste site plans

Rainford councillors David Monk and Allan Jones at the site off the industrial estate in Sandwash Close, Rainford.
Rainford councillors David Monk and Allan Jones at the site off the industrial estate in Sandwash Close, Rainford.

ALARMED residents of a St Helens village have seen plans for a huge waste facility switched to their backyard after “significant local opposition” forced the council to veto their first-choice site.

Rainford councillor David Monk says plans to create a sub-regional waste facility on agricultural land near Rainford Industrial Estate have been met with “dismay” by constituents.

The site, between Sandwash Close, Mill Lane and the A570 Rainford Bypass, has been idenitified as a preferred location for a multi-purpose waste facility.

It is close to the Rainford Brook waterway and Rainford Golf Course and is just 150 metres from the nearest residential properties - a row of terraced houses next to Millbrook Business Centre - and 450 metres from Rainford Village.

Coun Monk said: “The initial reaction in Rainford Village is one of dismay. The original consultation period was supposed to take place in February, but was delayed, and the deadline for comments is now June 20.

“We’re seeking to have that deadline extended to give us more time to marshal our thoughts and come to terms with the problems we’re facing - but that may not be possible.

“At the moment we don’t have any details about the frequency of vehicle movements around the site, the times of operation, the source of raw materials or whether we’re going to get all four intended uses of the site or just one or two.

“Concern is spreading across the village and the main worry is HGV traffic. The junction of Mill Lane, which is only narrow, and the A570 is already a well-known accident blackspot. Extra HGV traffic would surely only make matters worse.”

Plans to site the sub-regional facility on land off Lancots Lane, Sutton, were formally withdrawn by a St Helens Council Resolution when a consultation period held last summer was met with “significant local opposition”.

The council has since endorsed the Rainford location, which is sheltered by woodland, as an alternative site.

The current consultation period is described in the formal “new sites” consultation document as “the final chance” for residents to have their say.

The regional waste development plan, which also incorporates Knowsley, Halton, Liverpool, Sefton and Wirral Councils, is scheduled to be implemented next November.

In response to accident blackspot concerns, a spokeswoman for Waste Planning Merseyside said: “An initial access and transport assessment for the site is included in the site profile of the report. This makes clear that one possibility for development of this site would involve creation of a new access route.

“Anyone with comments to make about this site should read the report and we would be pleased to receive their comments. The consultation is open to anybody , but responses must be received by Monday, June 20, 2011.”

A spokeswoman for St Helens Council declined to comment.

A public drop-in session has been arranged for between 4-7pm on June 7 at Rainford Village Hall, Church Road, and Coun Monk says plans are in place to organise a formal public meeting and petition.

To find out more about the plans, go online at: www.wasteplanningmerseyside.gov.uk

Consultation forms can be requested by calling 0151 934 2804.