PLANS to build a recycling plant at Meriden Quarry have been given the go-ahead by Solihull Council’s planning committee.
The scheme for the site off Cornets End Lane, which was discussed at last night’s meeting (Wednesday), was recommended for approval subject to a number of conditions.
It will bring approximately 200 extra jobs to the area during the estimated eight months it would take to build and a total of 20 permanent jobs once it is up and running.
It would also divert 45,000 tonnes of biodegradable waste a year away from landfill recycling it to compost and would produce 500kw of renewable electricity, making the building self-sufficient for energy and placing no demand on the National Grid.
It is hoped the development which will be made up of a composting, biomass energy and waste water treatment plant will contribute towards the national and local waste management strategies, objectives and targets.
The plans include three weighbridges, a weighbridge office, two car parks, a coach park and an outside learning space as well as a office and education building.
Planning officers have said the scheme is inappropriate for the green belt as it would include a building with 7,642sq m of new floor space with the highest part of it reaching 17.2m high. Although this impact is lessened by the fact the area is generally well-screened and surrounded by operational quarry land and other waste management, associated buildings and structures.
A number of issues have been raised with the proposal including with the affect on the green belt, the landscape and visual impact as well as the affects it would have on traffic.
The developer believes, together with other considerations, including economic and employment benefits, the positives of the scheme outweighed the negatives.
It is hoped the development will contribute to the recycling need in Solihull, helping to address the ‘waste gap’ as well as diverting waste from landfill.
The scheme will now be referred to the National Planning Casework Unit to be consider by the Secretary of State on whether he wishes to exercise his call-in powers relating to green belt developments.
Coun John Windmill said: “We must take into account this is in the greenbelt.
“We must make certain this is its one and only use and if there is any change it should be returned to green open space.”
Coun Diana Holl-Allen added: “I support the recommendations. We do need to improve on our waste in the borough and this is going to help us do this.”
A condition was placed on the application requiring the land be returned to the green belt and used as open space if the operation ever ceased.