Storage site for 85 tonnes of explosive material approved - despite hundreds of objections

Residents of Tockwith protested outside the meeting, where plans were passed for a site where explosive materials will be stored.
Residents of Tockwith protested outside the meeting, where plans were passed for a site where explosive materials will be stored.
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Residents living near the newly-approved storage site for 85 tonnes of explosive material claim they have been ignored, following a decision to proceed with the plans despite hundreds of written objections.

Furious residents voiced their displeasure after Harrogate Borough Council's planning committee approved explosives supply company Brexco's application for a storage site at the former Tockwith Airfield.

Coun Norm Waller, the ward member for the area who had previously spoken in opposition to the plans, said afterwards that residents could "quite rightly" feel like they had been ignored.

"We all talk about democracy - today has shown that democracy isn't working," he said.

His views were echoed by Tockwith Residents' Association chairman Peter Poozman, who said planning committee members had failed to take into account residents' concerns that a 2010 incident, in which there was an explosion at the BCB Environmental Waste Services at the nearby Marston Moor Business Park, could be repeated.

He also said little was done to ease worries about the remote location of the site potentially attracting crime.

"I don't think they've taken into account our concerns... nothing was done to reassure our concerns about police response times. It's all gone through on the nod," he said.

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The decision comes after a consultation process which saw more than 200 objections and 600 signatures received on a petition opposing the proposal.

Councillors were split on the motion, ahead of eventually voting six to four in favour of it.

Speaking against the proposal, Coun Tom Watson voiced his concerns that no perimeter fencing around the site meant "anyone could wander in".

Likewise, Coun Andy Paraskos stated he could not support the proposal because it was not in the local plan, as well as feeling the earth bunds would completely change "the view and outlook" of the area.

However, Coun Nigel Simms moved to support officers' recommendation that the proposal be approved.

"If there was any remote chance of this being insecure, the police would have objected and they haven’t," he said.

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"We don’t have a legitimate reason to turn it down apart from a few people don’t like it.”

It means work will go ahead to install six metal storage magazines at the former Tockwith Airfield, which housed munitions during World War II.

Surrounded by fenced-off earth bunds, the magazines will house explosives, ammonium nitrate and detonators for use in mining and quarry operations.

Brexco had previously applied to house the explosives on land near Great Ouseburn, but this was refused in 2018 due to concerns over road access and the impact on the surrounding landscape.

An agent for the applicant said that each of the containers was designed to withstand any explosive incidents, with each individual bund fenced off.

Sensor lights and live CCTV monitoring will be installed on the site as well, the agent added.