Allowing lorries around-the-clock access to an industrial site near Gelligaer will have a “detrimental impact” on surrounding communities, councillors have heard.
Three separate planning applications relating to Bryn Group’s work at Gelliargwellt Uchaf Farm were rejected by Caerphilly County Borough Council’s planning committee on Wednesday (July 17) but could be reconsidered in future.
More than 550 people from Gelligaer and Penybryn signed petitions and letters opposing the plans, raising concerns about additional congestion, dust, noise and air pollution.
But several objectors stormed out as tensions mounted, with some hurling expletive-laden insults at Bryn Group representatives, while also accusing them of lying.
Gelliargwellt Uchaf Farm is home to several industrial operations, including a sandstone quarry, a recycling plant and an anaerobic digestion facility.
Councillors were asked to consider allowing vehicles carrying waste from providers, or emergency repair vehicles, 24-hour access to the site up to 40 times a month.
Under current permissions, vehicles are only allowed access between 7am and 6pm on weekdays and 7am to 1pm on Saturdays.
Emma Tyzack, speaking on behalf of the villagers, said: “I’ve seen first-hand the day-to-day impact on the health of residents and the impact of traffic relating to the operations.
“There have been respiratory tract issues and complaints about dust, blasting and noise detrimental to those living close.
“Children are especially vulnerable, and school absences correlate with illnesses.”
The meeting heard that utility providers Welsh Water, Wales and West Utilities and Western Power had told Ms Tyzack that they had little or requirement of the site.
Cllr Wynne David said residents were more likely to be disturbed if heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) were driving and unloading into the site when ambient noise levels were low.
Cllr Ann Gair added: “Residents are already suffering from noise and dust pollution, even with restricted hours.”
But Jennifer Price, manager at Bryn Group, said the change in hours would allow for emergency repairs to be carried out as soon as problems arise.
The meeting also heard that the number of trips was likely to be fewer than 40, which represented a “worst case scenario”.
But committee member Cllr Andrew Whitcombe said the permission was a “step too far”, while Mayor Julian Simmonds called for the mental health of residents to be protected.
A separate application concerning the retention and completion of an operating centre was also refused by councillors, who agreed to defer all plans to hear reasons for refusal at their next meeting.
The retrospective nature of the application was criticised, an issue which was raised with previous plans submitted by Bryn Group.
Work had already started on expanding its recycling facility when the firm applied for retrospective planning permission in August 2018.
The committee also considered retrospective plans to relocate an earth bund closer to Gelligaer, with members approving both applications.