Firm in smells row is told: It’s OK to expand

Smelly wagons clothes peg protest at Keelham Road Primary School, Denholme Gate
Smelly wagons clothes peg protest at Keelham Road Primary School, Denholme Gate

A CONTROVERSIAL waste processing company has been given permission to expand its site.

The Leo Group, based in Swalesmoor Road, Ploughcroft, Halifax, will be allowed to increase its number of buildings after Calderdale Council planning committee voted unanimously in favour.

Hundreds of objection letters were sent by residents living near the site, complaining about the stench of animal waste emanating from the site, and of spillages from wagons on to the road.

But permission was granted to replace Shed 4, which stores rotting meat, and Shed 2, which is used to transfer waste.

Shed 5 will also be expanded, which the firm says will allow meat and bonemeal to be unloaded within the building rather than outside, which will stop odour from escaping.

A wood-chipping area is to be extended and the firm will also add a second storey to its office, building a canteen and creating a garage to service machinery.

Planning permission was also granted retrospectively for Shed 3, which houses freezing, unloading and storage facilities.

David Witcher, planning officer from the Shibden Valley Society, said the buildings, which will be over 13 metres high, would spoil the landscape.

“We’re obviously disappointed because the site is going to increase in size by around 70 per cent.”

A spokesman for the Leo Group said: “We would like to thank the planning committee for the common sense approach they have taken.

“It was the right decision and the site visit no doubt dispelled many of the myths and unthruths spread about our operation.

“We can now start on a major programme of investment in improving the site, which will not only bring benefits to the local community and staff working here at Swalesmoor, but also enable us to strengthen our position as one of the leading waste management companies in the UK.”

Councillor Jennifer Pearson, chairing her final planning committee meeting before retiring next month, added: “I would ask the company to make their relationship with the residents as good as possible and do more if they can, particularly with regard to spillages, because there are very genuine concerns.”

The Swalesmoor Road site, which employes over 150, stores animal waste products, but is not an abbatoir.