Work at Welbeck tip could go on for eight more years

Welbeck tip
Welbeck tip

Work to convert a landfill site back into a public park could take another eight years.

FCC Environment has submitted a planning application to continue an ongoing restoration project at Welbeck Landfill Site in Normanton.

The original project was expected to be completed by 2008, but the company was given another 10 years.

With the completion deadline on May 19 approaching, FCC has asked for a further extension to continue work until at least 2026.

This would bring their occupation of the site to almost 30 years.

Campaigner Paul Dainton, president of Residents Against Toxic Waste, said: "We argued 20 years ago and 10 years ago that this would carry on forever and they insisted it wouldn't.

"As it is now it's simply nowhere near finished and there's no way they can complete the original scheme in the next eight years.

"The management company have got the council over a barrel because if they're denied permission they'll just walk away and leave a mountain of rubbish with a big hole in the ground.

"As residents we're all left with the dust and the dirt. It's a shambles and a disgrace."

Mr Dainton has asked for a meeting with the council's chief planning officer by May 18 to discuss the matter, as any public objections need to be registered by that date.

The earliest date he has been offered for a meeting, however, is May 21.

The council has been contacted for comment.

On its website FCC Environment says: "The restoration of Welbeck will be a significant improvement to the local area and provide a valuable asset for the community. It will provide a mixture of woodland, agricultural pasture land and recreational land, with an emphasis on ecological improvement and public access following completion of the site.

"Without landfilling, it would not have been economically viable to restore 100 hectares of previously derelict land.

"The restoration scheme agreed with Wakefield Council will include the planting of more than 100,000 trees and the construction of more than five kilometres of new public footpaths/bridleways."

In the planning application FCC blames the delays on landfill tax rises, new technology, increased recycling and the economic downturn.