Council denies financial motive over Welbeck Landfill Site

Welbeck Landfill Site.
Welbeck Landfill Site.

Wakefield Council has insisted the money it makes from a waste tip played no part in it advising its own councillors to let the site keep running.

Waste will continue to be dumped at the controversial Welbeck Landfill Site in Normanton for another five years, before it is belatedly restored to a public park.

Campaigners, led by Paul Dainton, have fiercely opposed the scheme on environmental grounds since it was first started in 1998.

Welbeck Landfill Site could carry on for another five years
Despite promises that the scheme would be complete by this year, managers FCC Environment had to apply for another extension, following one they were previously given in 2008.

The local authority’s latest accounts showed they received £900,000 in lease payments for the site during the last financial year.

But asked by Coun Kathy Scott at Thursday’s planning meeting whether or not the cash influenced council officers’ decision to recommend the extension be approved, head of planning Ian Garratt said: “It’s not a material consideration, so the short answer is no.”

Objecting to the plans, Mr Dainton had earlier told councillors the scheme was all about “profit, profit, profit”.

Travellers’ camp plan on landfill site is rejected
He said: “I stood here 20 years ago and outlined the problems that would come – the stench, the pollution and the fly infestation. Every single one of those objections has come to fruition.”

Mr Dainton said that the situation was, “like a horror movie where a multi-national moves into an American town and floods it with pollution”.

Speaking on behalf of FCC, Andy Langan said that discussions with Welbeck’s neighbours on the Welbeck Liason Committee had been productive.

He said: “The outcome of those meetings has been very agreeable to what we’re proposing. Members of the committee and people nearby want to see the site finished.”

He added he was “confident” the last waste would be dumped at the site by the end of December 2023, in keeping with the new agreement.

FCC says it will then spend two years topsoiling the litter to convert it into a park, and would maintain a presence at the site until 2030.

However, FCC were excused from answering questions from two councillors about whether or not they had been fined by the local authority for not completing the park on time.

Legal adviser Kevin Winter said that the issue was not “relevant” to the meeting, while committee chair Coun Sandra Pickin told councillors it would be “unfair” to make FCC respond.

The application was approved by a majority of nine councillors to four, with one abstention.