Recycling plant bosses appeal to Stewkley community to back plans

Billy, left, and Liam Doherty
Billy, left, and Liam Doherty

A family-run recycling firm looks to have a tough time on its hands in persuading neighbours to support its bid to keep the plant operational.

W J Doherty & Son has re-submitted a planning application to Bucks County Council for its Red Brick Farm recycling facility which has operated for a number of years without planning permission and handles building waste.

The firm has operated in the area since 1989, providing 12 jobs for local people, including five at the Red Brick Farm facility on Dunton Road just outside Stewkley.

And it has now urged villagers to support its bid as it says it will “provide security for the business, contractors and jobs, and help the county council meet its recycling targets”.

But Stewkley Parish Council has registered strong opposition to the site, with 50 members of the public present at a recent parish council meeting – the majority against the plan.

Many have already written to Bucks County Council urging it to reject the application and also submitted pictures of the problems caused by lorries passing through the area.

The parish council has written to Bucks County Council stating: “The HGV traffic inevitably generated by this activity has increased over time and had reached such a significant level of damage to the community early last year that Stewkley PC formally raised their concerns with AVDC and BCC.

“The widespread nature of this damage has been well–documented by residents of Stewkley and neighbouring affected villages and their objections bear witness to the loss of amenity by so many of them through noise, pollution, increased danger to pedestrians, cyclists, other road users and especially school children walking to school or to catch their buses.

“We contend that this site is unsuitable and unsustainable for the proposed activity.

“Many residents have highlighted their experiences with trucks mounting pavements to pass each other or parked vehicles, wing mirrors horrifically close to buildings and pedestrians, because the roads through our villages are not suitable for constant, increased volumes of these vehicles.

“No parent should have to worry that their children are at greater risk of harm walking along the footways in their villages because of the applicant’s ambition to continue an unauthorised and inappropriate industrial activity.”

CPRE Bucks has also registered its opposition, saying the site – and the traffic it generates – are completely unsuitable for the location.

Aylesbury Vale District Council says it has received 18 letters of objection to the plan, but has no objection to the application itself. But it says the company should submit an assessment of the noise and vibration generated by up to 60 vehicle movements per day on properties in the villages of Dunton, Stewkley, Soulbury and Wing.

W J Doherty & Son says it is working closely with the county council to achieve a “high-quality scheme” for the site.

The company adds: “The firm has run the facility for many years without local objection.

“However, to reassure local people, it has resubmitted the application to include a comprehensive set of independent studies on issues such as noise, vibration and drainage.

“There will be no increase in traffic. HGV trips to and from the site will be capped at the current level of a maximum of 360 a week and Buckinghamshire County Council’s Highways Department has stated that it has no objection to the proposals.”

The firm say operating hours will be confined to existing times of Monday to Friday 7am–5pm; and Saturday 8am-1pm. The facility will remain closed on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

It says improvements to the site will include better landscaping, acoustic screening, and new wheel wash facilities using rainwater.

It also states that Red Brick Farm will help the county council meet its target for 70 per cent of construction/demolition waste to be recycled by 2020, and states the site “helps to prevent fly-tipping by providing a sustainable location for safe disposal. Currently, there are not enough construction/demolition recycling facilities in the county and past site closures have increased fly-tipping.”

Liam Doherty, joint proprietor at W J Doherty & Son, added: “We are urging local people to support our application.

“We’re proud to be a local employer and we’re passionate about recycling. We want to continue to be good neighbours, and planning permission will help us do this by putting Red Brick Farm on a proper footing.”