It's not all Trump/Menie here ... and occasionally all councillors agree!
On Tuesday the local planning committee here refused a twenty year extension to the period of operation for a landfill site at Wester Hatton, Aberdeenshire. The planning service recommended grant.
Oddly given the usual enthusiasm for moving Grant or Refusal by local members, three local councillors spoke expressing various shades of opinion before the final and fourth local member, Cllr Paul Johnston moved refusal. I was starting to think I'd have to move the motion .... and there was even a pause before Jim Gifford seconded Paul. This is an interesting one that will almost certainly go to appeal - there is simply so much money at stake. But just how long should a community have to suffer a landfill site?
This one was granted planning permission when I first became a councillor (in fact it was the first planning application I ever spoke on - the first item of the first committee meeting I attended and I was then the local member and had the priviledge of speaking first). It was granted for a limited period of ten years - its then expected life. But it operated for only two or three years without serious problems (some smell to some properties to the north) and then closed. Another landfill opened in the locality not operating to quite such high standards was able to undercut its prices. And yet another landfill opened nearby more recently. It seems that even without this site there is sufficient landfill capacity in the area for decades ahead. So the need case was dramatically different and the weight on this was the serious difference between the views of the planners and those of councillors.
But what now happens to the site? Are the previous conditions for restoration robust enough?