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Poisons risk at old industrial site must be taken account of

By MIG: Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: March 17, 2013

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CONTAMINATION at a copper works and a transport study are to be included in the Churnet Valley Master Plan following major concerns.

After almost three years of study a draft plan has been recommended for its final targeted consultation.

However, at a meeting of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council’s cabinet, it was agreed to adopt both issues into the plan, which recommends a series of developments along the valley from Tittesworth to Alton District.

Councillor Linda Malyon, who is not a member of the cabinet but was allowed to speak, said there were concerns over dangerous industrial contaminants at the Bolton Copper site in Froghall.

She added: “There is not enough in the document regarding the contamination at the Froghall site.

“There should be constraints on this land. You only have to look at the Corby Steel Works report. We do not want this to happen.

“The contamination is very serious and it should be in the document to reflect it.

“Also, the Churnet Valley has limited transport capacity. A traffic impact assessment is required. Both issues need firming up.” Including the contaminaton element means the risk posted by the poisons would have to be considered when plans for the site are drawn

Council leader Sybil Ralphs said: “These two matters are being addressed. They should be in the final plan. People have raised these issues and there is not enough emphasis on them.”

In July 2009 Corby Borough Council was found to be negligent during the remediation and reclamation of a former British Steel steelworks, after children born to parents living nearby suffired birth defects.

Mr Justice Akenhead found in favour of 16 of 18 claimants. The ruling was significant as it was the first in the world to find that airborne pollution could cause such birth defects.

Meanwhile, during a three-day hearing into Staffordshire Moorlands District Council’s Draft Core Strategy document, Government inspector Patrick Whitehead was made aware of hundreds of objections regarding the tourism corridor and housing development allocations along the valley.

The Inspector heard evidence from Whiston Action Group (WAG) challenging proposals for tourism development at Moneystone Quarry and other locations.

The inadequacies of the road infrastructure to cope with existing tourism problems stretching from The Roches in the north down to Alton in the south were also raised.

Witnesses argued that better tourism, involving small locally-based businesses, was required, not largescale tourism developments by outside commercial interests.

The inspector took the significant step of inviting objectors to re-draft the key Churnet Valley Tourism section of the council plan and discuss their ideas with the district authority to achieve agreement if possible, and then for him to review progress with a revised policy.

Nick Cresswell, WAG communication officer, said: “WAG is pleased to see the intervention of an independent public enquiry, and looks forward to the day when an eventual plan will be produced for the future of the Churnet Valley that genuinely reflects the needs of residents.”

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