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Tip deadline looms

Posted on July 31 2017 at 2:19:54

After years of stalemate, this month may mark a major turning point in the Marlbrook Tip debacle.

August 31 is the deadline for the owner of the site to complete safety work ordered by the Environment Agency.

But it is believed there isn’t enough time left to get planning permission to do the work, never mind carry it out – at which point it will be out of the owner’s hands, according to officials.

Residents suffered more than ten years of lorries thundering past their homes up the Lickey Hills as more than a million cubic metres of waste was over-tipped on to the site – under the watch of Bromsgrove District Council.

For years, the council ignored complaints from residents, who said it was a “living hell”, until a new head of planning, Ruth Bamford, took over in 2011 and got the tipping stopped.

More than six years later, and with the Environment Agency now in charge because a balancing pond on the tip was deemed a “reservoir”, a final resolution may be in sight.

An Environment Agency engineer has ordered a minimum of 300mm of soil to be spread over the former tip to ensure the “reservoir” is safe.

Ms Bamford told a meeting of the cross party Marlbrook Tip Working Group last month that she had sought advice as to whether this work – thought to entail around 3,200 lorry loads of material being brought up the Lickey Hills – would require planning permission.

“I have had legal opinion on it and planning permission is required,” she said, adding that such a major application would require a three-week public consultation period, as well as the time to put it before the planning committee, which could take up to 13 weeks in total.

Coun Luke Mallett told the meeting: “The fact is that this council cannot give approval within the time.We are seven weeks and thousands of lorries away; I will eat my suit if this is achieved by the end of August.

“It seems utterly, utterly ludicrous and the people of Bromsgrove deserve better.”

But Tony Deakin, Reservoir Safety Manager of the Environment Agency,  said once the deadline had passed, the agency would have to carry out the work, adding: “If we have to step in and do the work, then we will charge the owner.

“Between now and then we will start to think and plan what action we will take,” said Mr Deakin.

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