Councillors refuse permission for Loanhead town centre waste facility

Sunday March 17th 2024

Engine Road Lonahead

Waste transfer facility on Engine Road, Loanhead.

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

A waste facility which has been operating for over three years in the centre of a Midlothian town has been refused planning permission by councillors.

Concerns over the work being carried out in the centre of Loanhead and on contaminated land were raised by the local community council and residents.

And at a meeting of Midlothian Council’s planning committee this week, council leader Kelly Parry moved a motion to refuse an application for a change of use of the site from a scrap yard to its current operations.

Councillor Parry, a local ward member, raised issues caused by vehicles parking outside the Engine Road industrial site which is next to residential housing.

She said: “Local residents cannot park and vehicles on pavements prevent them getting to their homes with buggies or disabled residents unable to use the pathways.

“This is supposedly a safe route to school.”

Councillors were told by planning officers that the site had been used as an industrial area for 150 years and if the waste facility was refused permission its space could revert to the scrap yard which previously operated on it.

However Councillor Parry expressed frustration at the lack of mitigation measure offered by planning conditions or the applicant to tackle the impact on residents living next to the industrial estate.

The application had been recommended for approval by planning officers.

Loanhead and District Community Council raised concerns about the land at the former colliery site.

They said: “The site encompasses two shafts of the former Ramsay Colliery and is an area of high contamination.

“It is unimaginable that Midlothian Council Planning Department is seriously considering permitting a waste transfer site to operate on a seriously contaminated site.”

Planners however insisted the ground surface of the site would not be disturbed by the waste facility.

The council received 26 individual objections which raised concerns over the impact of traffic in and out of the site, the centre being in close proximity to schools and a call for it to be moved to a more industrial location away from housing.

Enviroworx who are operating the waste processing site had pointed out it is not a new facility but a relocation of their operations on the site to a more efficient area.

In their supporting statement to councillors in response to concerns they said: “A commitment to environmental sustainability, community benefit, and operational efficiency drives our planning application.

“We understand and respect the concerns of our stakeholders and are committed to open, transparent dialogue to address these concerns.

“Our proposal, focusing on recycling and community engagement, represents a positive step forward for Enviroworx and the Loanhead community.”

The committee backed Councillor Parry’s motion to refuse the planning application.

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