A deputy mayor suggested his fellow town councillors might need “training on looking at planning applications” after it objected to a scheme designed to reduce agricultural pollution.
The aside came during Denbighshire county council’s planning committee meeting on Wednesday, as members assessed a plan to construct a “slurry lagoon and associated works” on land in Llangollen.
The idea is for the applicants, RM and J Johnson and Son, to hold slurry on their land at Pengwern Hall over winter months and use it from February onwards, preventing run-off of waste from the land.
Strict new rules, announced last month by Lesley Griffiths MS, Welsh Government minister for environment, energy and rural affairs, will clamp down on agri-pollution and the move was seen by the planning committee as an example of good practice.
Denbighshire county councillor Melvin Mile (Llangollen ward) noted Llangollen town council, of which he’s also deputy mayor, had objected to the plans.
He said: “The town council objection on this was really just to flag up there was going to be Llangollen town council said it was “unacceptable in planning terms” built not far from two primary schools and a residential estate. I don’t think they need to have bothered really.
“Maybe there’s a point here about training town and community councils in the ways to object. We are not experts on slurry lagoon building.
“The experts are happy. I am happy to propose the application is granted subject to the conditions listed.”
In their objection Llangollen town council said it was “unacceptable in planning terms”.
It opposed the plan on the grounds it doesn’t “respect the site and surroundings in terms of the siting, layout, scale, design, and micro-climate and intensity of use of land/buildings”.
It also said it would “affect the amenity of local residents, other land and property users by virtue of the discharge of fumes and potential effects on water courses and drainage”.
Natural Resources Wales NRW confirmed it would control phosphate pollution from the lagoon under the Water Resources (Control of Pollution) (Silage and Slurry) (Wales) Regulations 2010.
The environment watchdog said it had no objection to the plan after receiving an ammonia impact screening report on the site.
The Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Joint Advisory Committee recommended a “landscaping scheme to enclose the
site with new hedges and hedgerow trees comprising native local species” and safety fencing “appropriate to its rural setting”.
Denbighshire council’s own public protection officer had no objection to the plans, saying: “Public Protection have reviewed the supplied documents for the application and understand the applicant intends to allow the slurry lagoon to form a natural crust.
“This crust will act as a barrier to the escape of odour from the slurry which could be a potential source of nuisance at nearby residential properties to the west.”
Councillors approved the scheme 15-0, with one abstention.