05:00PM, Thursday 16 January 2020
Plans to extend the life of a landfill site for the second time have upset a number of Knowl Hill residents who want it restored to a woodland.
Star Works, a former brickworks in Star Lane, was bought by waste management and environmental services supplier Grundon in 1994 when brick-making stopped.
Under the original planning permission, the landfill operation at the 17.3 hectare site was to begin in 1999 and cease by January 2016.
The plan was for it to be restored to woodland, with ponds and grassland, by January 2018.
However in 2016 a three- year extension to these plans was approved.
The completion date of 2016 for the deposit of inert-waste [imported for disposal] was pushed back to 2019, and the infill of inert waste [material used as part of the restoration of the site] back to 2020.
Restoration of the site was extended from 2018 to 2021.
By April 2018 the deposit of non-inert waste was complete, however the import of inert material has been slower than anticipated – prompting the latest two-year extension.
Plans submitted on December 20 propose that the deposit of inert waste continue to January 2022 and the restoration of the landfill be completed by January 2023.
Rob White is a Knowl Hill resident and member of Muckmentum, which was formed in 2018 to oppose proposals to include Grundon’s Star Works in the local waste plan. He called the site ‘a very large neighbour for a very small place’.
“They told us in 2016 they would be done in five years, everyone was very much looking forward to having this rural area back to a local amenity,” he said.
“Part of the deal for them being here is to get things done on time for local people, and you can’t just keep asking for more time to get things done.”
He added: “I, along with many other local residents, believe that the original time-scale should be enforced by Wokingham Borough Council and that no further extension should be granted in respect to the completion date of January 2021.”
A consultation on the application will close on Saturday (January 18)
To view or comment on the plans go to Wokingham Borough Council’s website via tinyurl.com/y6uaba4q and enter the planning application number 193392.
A spokesman for Wokingham Borough Council said: “Planning application 193392 has been submitted to the council asking to allow the deposit operations to continue for a further two years before the restoration scheme is implemented.
"The council will fully consider all material planning considerations and local representation for this application.
"In accordance with the planning regulations the consultation period has been extended to accommodate the bank holidays over the Christmas and New Year period.
“Residents can submit comments via the council web site by January 18.”
Senior Planner at Grundon, Veronique Bensadou, said: “The current planning application requests an extension to the life of the landfill so that we can continue to bring restoration soils to the site until January 2022 and complete the approved restoration scheme.
“The approved woodland planting started in 2019 and will continue until the site is fully restored.
“We do understand the concerns of the local residents and have made significant progress in the recent years towards the completion of the landfill site.
"We are now in the final phase of the site and need to ensure the right type of material is brought to form the top layer of the site over which vegetation and trees are planted.
“The completed landfill is designed to blend into the existing landscape, so once the trees have established, it will merge into the adjacent woodland.
“Within the restoration scheme, ponds and grassland areas have been included to improve the biodiversity of the site.”
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