Hangleton Bottom is set to be officially listed as a potential waste management site despite pleas for it to be dropped by a Tory councillor.
Councillor Tony Janio argued that the vacant site, next to the A27 Brighton bypass and A293 link road, was ‘simply unsuitable for any form of waste transfer or waste processing site’.
But the Conservative councillor’s bid to remove it from a list of potential sites for processing rubbish and recycling was criticised as ‘antics’ by Labour councillors at a Brighton and Hove City Council meeting at Hove Town Hall yesterday (Thursday 19 January).
Cllr Janio raised concerns about a possible plan to build an anaerobic digester there and said that they should be kept as far from homes and population centres as possible, raising worries about traffic and potentially hazardous gases.
Labour councillor Gill Mitchell, the deputy leader of the council, said: “I am finding this quite astonishing. We are now seeing politics being played at this late stage with this report.
“This plan has been three years in the making and it has gone through extensive rounds of consultation.”
An independent official planning inspector had found it compliant with the law and sound, she said, adding that it other local authorities were also in the process of formally adopting it.
The plan – the Waste and Minerals Sites Plan – consists of a joint set of policies forming part of a broader Waste and Minerals Local Plan.
It is also being adopted by the South Downs National Park Authority and East Sussex County Council.
Cllr Mitchell said: “This has been a really thorough, extensive and legally compliant process.
“Now Councillor Janio wants to throw everything up in the air, potentially leaving us without a plan.”
She said that adopting the plan would protect other sites in Brighton and Hove from being used for things like handling rubbish.
She added: “I’m pretty disappointed with these antics.”
Cllr Janio replied: “Isn’t democracy uncomfortable sometimes. I am elected every four years to represent the people of Hangleton and Knoll and I will do my damnedest to respond to their wishes.
“I’ve raised this at every opportunity. This is not politics. This is standing up for my residents.”
He called on Les Hamilton, Labour councillor for South Portslade, to support him.
But Cllr Hamilton said: “I’m very sorry to disappoint Councillor Janio. In no way will I second any amendment to delete Hangleton Bottom from the waste plan.”
He explained that residents nearest the site were happy wit the site as it is now, open land with horses grazing on it, and nothing could happen without a planning application.
Geoffrey Theobald, leader of the Tory group on the council, said: “On a number of occasions we have raised our concerns about Hangleton Bottom. We’ve opposed this many times. We’ve been outvoted.
“The people of North Portslade and Hangleton and Knoll would much prefer to see this land used for housing than as a waste transfer site with all the vehicles and such like.”
Councillors were told that the coal yard between the Sackville Trading Estate and the railway line had been removed as a potential waste site.
Officers explained that the plan was also intended to protect minerals and reserves – and minerals capacity at ports across the area including Shoreham – to support economic growth. These included gypsum, sand, gravel and clay.
Councillor Phélim Mac Caffertty, the Green group convenor, flagged up concerns about the lack of local land-won aggregates.
The plan highlights the high level of aggregates imported through and landed at Shoreham Port and is intended to protect its wharves from other forms of development.
The plan will go before the meeting of the full council next Thursday (26 January) for final approval.