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Tip talks ‘are like a high wire act’

Posted on March 17 2012 at 11:11:24

Bromsgrove planners are walking a tightrope in attempting to sort out the over-tipping of more than one million cubic metres of waste in the foothills of the Lickeys, a public meeting for villagers heard.

More than 60 Lickey and Marlbrook residents attended the latest event held by Bromsgrove District Council to consult on what has been happening over Marlbrook Tip.

They heard that the council’s attitude was starting to move from trying to get the owner to agree to improve the site through a retrospective planning application towards enforcement action.

Head of planning Ruth Bamford told the meeting: “We aren’t in control of our own destiny; everything will have to be done against the backdrop of realistic expectations.
“Whether there is too much risk of the site owner just walking away is something we have to bear in mind. I sometimes feel like we are walking on a bit of a tightrope.”

Ms Bamford said the idea of retrospective planning permission “sticks in a lot of people’s throats because they feel this is the owner getting away with the over-tipping”.

But the chances of going down that route now seemed less likely. She said: “There have been several meetings [with the owner] and he certainly did consider a retrospective planning application, but at one meeting I could see the penny drop about how expensive such an application will be.

“That’s why I am considering the enforcement route, perhaps as a bit of a stick,” said Ms Bamford, later adding: “My feeling is that we need to go down the enforcement route and set out clearly what we want to see done, although that’s not to rule out negotiation.”

Resident Roy Hughes, who for years tried to bring the overtipping problems to the council’s attention, said: “It would seem to me that the council’s approach has been one of appeasement. It didn’t work in 1938 and I am sure it’s not going to work now.”

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