This statement is intended to respond to the representation and comments made by the ARROW campaign group to the Skelmersdale Champion, dated 9th June 2019.
The benefits of the proposed works are summarised as follows:
- The proposed restoration of the former Parbold landfill site to its originally approved levels is vital to eliminate site depressions which are resulting in continuous water percolation through the original landfill material.
- The works are purely land restoration, using inert materials, and should not be confused with traditional land fill operations.
The construction of a new car park and viewing area (approximately 85m west of the existing layby) will enable visitors to safely take advantage of views stretching from Blackpool, over Merseyside and to Ashurst Beacon.
- The proposal creates safe ingress and egress to and from the car park, removing the risk of vehicles pulling out and sometimes even reversing out of the existing layby into oncoming traffic.
- The proposal will prevent HGVs using the layby overnight.
- The works will facilitate the rectification of problems caused by poor or no-existent maintenance of the site over the past two decades by previous site owners.
- Preparation of the site to allow the possibility of some form of future use (the site is currently unusable).
- The improvement of road safety, enhancement of visitor experiences and the improved habitats for both flora and fauna.
The proposed restoration of the former Parbold quarry is one of absolute necessity. Due to the depression of site levels, since the conclusion of the land filling operations, rainwater has continued to permeate through the site for far longer than anticipated when Planning Permission was granted. As rainwater permeates through the landfill it becomes contaminated, the contaminated water subsequently requires pumping away from the site for treatment before it can enter the water system. Without the pumping operations the contaminated water would enter the natural watercourse to the south of the former quarry, entering the River Douglas. The current pumping operations come at a significant financial cost the applicant/land owner and are unsustainable.
The proposed works will require the importation of inert materials to restore the site levels which will allow rainwater to drain naturally from the site, rather than pool in the existing site depressions and percolate through the former landfill. By definition, inert materials are un-reactive both chemically and biologically. The materials to be brought in are unrecyclable materials, however they are instead reusable materials that are suitable for land level restoration works. There is a clear distinction between the materials to be brought in as part of the restoration proposals and traditional land fill materials. The description of the proposed works as a restoration project is accepted by Lancashire County Council as they recognise that this is not a landfill operation.
The risk assessment carried out by Terra Consult has assessed the proposed works and concluded that the risk of fugitive emissions is low. The statement made by ARROW in this regard is incorrect. The representation by ARROW also states that there will be a high risk of odour from the site. ARROW have not considered the risk management strategies stipulated by Terra Consult within their risk assessment which reduces the risk of odour to ‘Low’.
To ensure that the existing beauty spot is retained the proposed works includes the creation of a car park and viewing area to the west of the existing layby, approximately 85m from the layby. This car park will be accessible during daylight hours (exact hours to be confirmed with Lancashire County Council) so that public access to the beauty spot is retained and is unimpeded. The removal of the layby and the restrictions to the access to the carpark have been welcomed by local residents who have highlighted their concerns with over overnight HGV parking opposite their property. Lancashire County Council Highways have welcomed the proposals to remove the layby and create a car park as the layby is considered hazardous. The car park will enhance the enjoyment of the beauty spot by separating parked vehicles from the national speed limit highway. The position of the car park is such that visitors will benefit from a much wider range of views than currently provided by the layby.
The applicant/landowner recognises that the site is an existing beauty spot and intends to enhance the setting through the proposed land restoration project and the subsequent leisure/recreational development. It was the intention of the applicant/landowner to submit the land level restoration proposals along with the recreational/leisure development as a single application to Lancashire County Council. However, advice from both LCC and West Lancashire Borough Council was that the proposal should be split into two applications, one to each of the authorities. The land level restoration application, by virtue of its very special circumstances (water contamination), is supported by Lancashire County Council, whilst the recreational/leisure development requires an additional planning application and further supporting information. As the land level restoration is considered an urgent matter it would be improper to jeopardise the application by including it within a single application.
The subsequent long-term recreational and leisure development proposals are not finalised at this time. The information supplied to show the potential long-term development, submitted in support of the land restoration scheme, is to be used for illustrative purposes only. The citing and placement of the proposed holiday lodges will be carefully undertaken in collaboration with landscape designers, arboriculture specialists and ecologists. There are no proposals for the large-scale removal of trees as the proposals are to create woodland holiday lodges that are carefully nestled within the existing trees and site topography.
Prior to the submission of the application to Lancashire County Council the proposals were presented to the Parbold Parish Council who were given the opportunity to query the proposals, raise concerns and contribute ideas. The meeting was extremely positive and included input from residents neighbouring the application site.
The proposed works are to restore site levels and enhance the experience of visitors to the site. The use of the site as a beauty spot will be retained throughout all stages of the restoration.
The full Planning Application for the proposed restoration works can be viewed and tracked by visiting http://planningregister.lancashire.gov.uk/planappsearch.aspx and entering reference number LCC/2019/0028
Peter Dickinson Architects
On behalf of
Maybrook Investments LTD.