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Tip frustration mounts

Posted on September 22 2013 at 10:20:34

Frustration is close to tipping point among villagers who fear their lives will be blighted by yet more lorries thundering past their homes to a former Lickey Hills waste site.

It is now more than two and a half years since Bromsgrove District Council halted the importation of waste materials to “cap” the former Marlbrook Tip, saying a deal had been struck whereby only a relatively small amount of topsoil would now be allowed on to bring the total up to the agreed maximum of 396,000 cubic metres.

The council then discovered this total had already been exceeded by more than one million cubic metres – four times the permitted amount, despite repeated warnings from residents – and a planning wrangle began.

This has still not been resolved and, to add to residents’ frustration, the council has retreated behind closed doors, citing legal reasons.

A spokeswoman for the Lickey Community Group Committee told The Village: “It is amazing to think that the tipping was stopped in March 2011 and the survey, which showed over one million cubic metres of excess tipping, was published in June 2011,“ she said.

“In the intervening 27 months nothing has happened to change and improve the physical appearance of the site.”

She added: “It would seem the council is doing everything possible to delay matters in the hope that it will simply fade away and they will have to do nothing and none of the people responsible for this fiasco will have been called to account.

“We have a distinct feeling that we are being teed-up to accept proposals to bring on further material under the guise of needing to landscape the site.

“As a bare minimum you would expect that if permission is granted to import more material it should be conditional on at least a similar amount being removed beforehand.

“We feel the council will attempt to oppose any removal of material with the spurious excuse that this will make the site ‘unsafe’.”

The spokeswoman said the district council had shown no concern about excess tipping over the years and had brushed aside all reasonable warnings about this by many residents.

It did, however, hold three public meetings to discuss the tip and a further one was scheduled for February 3 this year.

“We were confidently told that the February meeting would provide a comprehensive response to the problem and plans for resolving it,” she said.

“But this meeting was cancelled at the 11th hour because the legal team did not wish any information to come into the public domain as they claimed it could damage the serving of any future enforcement notice.

“In the past seven months every attempt to extract any information has been met by a claim that they are unable to discuss the matter due to legal constraints.”

When contacted by The Village, a Bromsgrove council spokesman said: “As already communicated to the public, the council is unable to provide any detail about the ongoing enforcement issues at Marlbrook Tip.

“The council will release a public statement as soon as it is in a position to do so.”

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