Safety in waste and Rubbish Disposal (SWARD) has lodged a request in the High Court for a judicial review of Gloucestershire County Council’s decision to grant Grundon Waste Management a new 20 year planning consent at its Wingmoor Farm site, Bishop’s Cleeve.

SWARD members took a legal opinion on their case after an anonymous donation of £1,000 to fund a barrister.

Spokeswoman Barbara Farmer said:

We now know that we have a case and at a meeting of members the vote was unanimous to lodge proceedings.

SWARD had argued that the Council should consider Wingmoor Farm as a greenfield site, because all previous consents had carried a condition of complete site restoration. As previous planning consent had expired they argued that this should be dealt with as a brand new proposal in the greenbelt, not a continuation of existing activities.

SWARD believes the councillors were swayed into thinking that they should treat the site as already spoiled and had no choice but to allow work to continue. These are a crucial planning points. Communities must have confidence that a 20 year planning consent means just that, not an open ended ticket to keep coming back for more decade after decade. This is not just a local issue; it goes to the very heart of the way planning authorities determine applications for waste sites.

The legal challenge also alleges that the Council failed to give enough weight to SWARD’s scientific evidence. The group argued that the Health Protection Agency’s reassuring conclusions were based on flawed assumptions.

SWARD must now raise at least £5,000 to pay the community contribution towards costs.

Anyone who wishes to donate can write to SWARD, P.O. Box 843, Cheltenham GL52 8WS or contact SWARDBishopsCleeve.co.uk

SWARD had contested the result of the planning committee meeting at which councillors tied: 7 for and 7 against granting planing consent. It was only Chairman’s second, casting vote that swung the decision.

Local residents appealed to the Secretary of State to call-in the decision and set up a public inquiry, but this was refused.

According to the document sent to the Administrative Court, t6he grounds for judicial review include:

…that Officers failed to advise Members that the site should properly have been regarded as ‘greenfield’ land by virtue of the enforceable restoration conditions, whereas in fact the Members erroneously took into account the existing ground conditions and the need to do something to improve the current quality of the site; [and] The failure of Officers to advise Members on the nature of conflicting scientific data regarding the environmental effects (hazardous dust emissions) of the development

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