Ramsbottom MP, David Nuttall, has asked for the controversial plan to build an AD waste plant in Ramsbottom to be decided by the Secretary of State.
The planning application was originally turned down by Bury Council. Since then Peel and Marshalls have appealed and a public Inquiry is due to start on March 10th.
As you know, the proposal at Fletcher Bank in Ramsbottom is a substantial and complex application in a very sensitive location within land designated as Green Belt. I recently welcomed the publication by the Government of its updated “Planning Policy Guidance on Waste” (October 2014) which makes clear that companies looking to build AD facilities should first look for suitable sites and areas at brownfield locations and not on green belt land.
Ramsbottom MP, David Nuttall, has been working closely with me and the action group RAWS – Ramsbottom Against the Waste Site – on how we can most effectively stop the stop the construction of an Anaerobic Digestion Waste Plant.
David Nuttall MP said “Having spoken to Councillor Bevan, we have decided to ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles MP, to determine the application himself, as opposed to it being left to the Planning Inspector.”
“This move will not stop the Public Inquiry from going ahead, and I know many will wish to speak against the application. Given the seriousness of the implications for local residents in Ramsbottom, I am of the opinion that it warrants a decision being made by the Secretary of State himself.”
The Secretary of State has a power to “recover” a planning appeal which has been submitted to the planning inspectorate. A “recovered inquiry” is basically a planning appeal (against a local authority’s decision) which the Secretary of State can decide to determine himself, rather than allowing the planning inspector to take the final decision, as is the normal process.
An MP can make representations to have an application called-in or “recovered”, but they have to be open ones. MPs and the Secretary of State in taking the decision must follow DCLG Guidance on Planning Propriety Issues.
On whether the request would be successful, David said “I accept that the Secretary of State may decide that it should be left to the Planning Inspector to decide the Appeal but in view of the importance of the application and the fact that there is new guidance in place I considered it worth asking for the Appeal to be recovered by the Secretary of State. I intend to work closely with the local Councillors and residents in Ramsbottom to ensure that this proposed AD Waste Plant does not go ahead”.
The formal request has now been acknowledged by the Secretary of State. It may be 4 to 6 weeks before we have his response.
A copy of the MP’s letter can be found here: Letter from DN to SoS AD Waste Plan