THE REJECTION of two waste plant proposals for Northwich has been hailed a ‘victory for democracy’, after an emotional four-hour meeting.

Planning applications from Viridor and Resource Recovery Solutions (RRS) were rejected by councillors in front of a packed executive lounge at Northwich Victoria Football Club.

The two companies were bidding for Cheshire’s household waste contract, which aims to provide a long-term solution to the county’s waste disposal.

Viridor’s proposal was for a waste treatment plant at the former chlorine works off Griffiths Road, Lostock Gralam.

This would combine mechanical and biological treatment to deal with up to 250,000 tonnes of waste per year.

Lostock Gralam Parish Council raised a late objection to the proposal, with Great Budworth Parish Council requesting a delay in the decision until the outcome of the separate Brunner Mond application.

The proposal was rejected by the Strategic Planning Committee, by seven votes to two.

Ann McEllin, vice chairman of Lostock Parish Council, who spoke against both proposals, said: “I was quite stunned that it was rejected.

“I thought if one would be approved it would be the Lostock one.”

Clr George Miller opposed the proposal, focusing on the impact on Rudheath. He shared Ann’s views, and added: “I tell you what, I wasn’t expecting that.”

Simon Grasby, planning manager at Viridor, said: “Viridor is clearly disappointed with the decision made by CWAC to refuse planning permission for the facility.

“The proposed plans underwent significant consultation efforts and were specifically designed to meet the needs of the Cheshire authorities.

“Viridor will await further notice of the reasons for the planning refusal and will reflect on this decision and our options in due course.”

The second proposal heard at the meeting detailed suggestions by RRS for a waste treatment plant at the New Cheshire Business Park on Wincham Lane, Wincham. The plant proposed to use gasification technology to generate renewable energy, with 200,000 tonnes of waste sent to the plant yearly.

It was rejected unanimously because the site was not included in the waste local plan, there was an over-provision of waste, and that it would have a detrimental effect on local amenties.

Clr Malcolm Byram, who proposed both objections, said: “I had got grave doubts about both of them, and further doubts were raised this afternoon. In particular, towards the information that should have come to the committee that probably wasn’t there.

“I have got to be happy with the way it has gone - 900 to 1,000 people in Wincham can’t be wrong.”

Jane Parkinson, project director for RRS, said: “Naturally we are extremely disappointed with the decision of the strategic planning committee to refuse the planning application, particularly as it had officer’s recommendation to approve and there are no statutory objections other than representations made by the Parish Councils.

“RRS will continue to work with both Cheshire East Council and CWAC as part of the procurement process to deliver new waste infrastructure to deal with Cheshire’s waste.

“We will now look at the reasons for refusal and consider our options - including an appeal.”

Clr Myles Hogg added: “I think it’s a good example of democracy in action and the members were making up their minds as a result of the debate.”