Jun 27 2012 by Kaiya Marjoribanks, Stirling Observer Wednesday
COUNCILLORS are preparing to fight plans for a controversial waste to energy plant in Throsk after it was announced that developers have appealed the local authority's decision to refuse it.
Stirling Council’s planning panel unanimously rejected an application for permission in principle for the proposal by Powercrofters Ltd – which has former Stirling Provost Fergus Wood as a director – in March.
However, council planners informed the panel yesterday (Tuesday) that Cogent Energy had appealed against the refusal on behalf of Powercrofters.
Because council planners had originally recommended conditional approval of the application they are unable to draw up a submission for the panel members for the appeal reporter. Panel members therefore opted to use external planning advisers to help formulate their response.
Councillor Margaret Brisley said: “I think we should have external consultants’ help and those members of the planning panel who were present on the day of the decision should be involved in the process because I have never seen an application come forward with so many objections and petitioners in all my years in being involving in planning.
“It is so important that the views of the community are represented and the views of the planning panel.”
In March the council’s planning panel had backed the local community, which had voiced serious concerns about the impact of the proposal and attracted backing for their objections from communities further afield and from Friends of the Earth.
Throsk and Polmaise Community Councils had objected on possible effects on health/air quality, concern about noise and odour, possible hazardous waste, that the waste source was not identified, and concern over the environmental monitoring and management of the site. Roads, traffic and access concerns had also been raised.
The original meeting heard that the plant would have failed to comply with guidelines as it was too close to housing.
Stirling Council’s planners had been recommending conditional approval of the application, which was earmarked for land next to west of Bandeath Lodge.
Bannockburn ward councillors Alasdair MacPherson and Margaret Brisley, both members of the panel, had both raised concerns about the application.
It was refused on grounds including: unacceptable location; the 250 metres buffer zone cannot be met; potential health impacts; inadequate demonstration that there would be no risk to human health as a result of the proposed development; and that due to its 24 hour working and associated traffic the development would have a significant detrimental effect to the amenity and quality of life for the residents of Throsk.
When the application was first lodged in 2010, consultants for the company stressed the proposed treatment method did not involve incineration of wastes, and added that energy generated could be made available as an electricity supply, locally or to the National Grid, and partly as heat to local users within a 1.5km radius. They estimated the facility could employ around 65 people full-time.