Letter to Express from Bill Clift - printed in 28th Oct 2004 edition

20th October 2004

Dear Editor

Re Urban Mines Recycling Plant Wheldale Colliery Site

Last night a public meeting was held at Castleford High School Technology College organised and chaired by

Bill Clift a Resident of Castleford for some 58yrs to discuss and share concerns with residents, schools, community group and businesses about the proposals by Urban Mines impose a recycling plant on the community of Castleford .

The meeting  was attended by the Labour Party Councillors Denise Jeffrey, Mark Burns –Williamson, Steve Groves and Darren Travis( all wards were represented) along with 150 resident of all ages even three young children attended with their parents to express concerns. As each speaker introduced themselves and identified who they were speaking for, it became clear all areas of the community and the hard working focus groups were represented.

The main concern was the impact of 20 ton plus HGV vehicles hitting the town on average every 5 min not to mention leaving the site along with transport servicing the plant.

An environment report is ready for publication and the statistics have been recorded over 5yrs and the result is that Castleford as poor quality air.

Residents of Fairburn were concerned about the emissions from the process and disposal of the waste produced.

All the Councillors spoke and expressed their concern which were mainly directed at the transport and environmental issues

Bill Clift summed up at the end by saying We are only custodian of this town and we have a responsibility to  the young people of Castleford to ensure that we leave the town in a better shape than the one we inherited. Following on from our  predecessors.

Castleford it at a crucial point in its development .The heritage group, Riverside Community groups has and is working very hard to change this town and we have a responsibility to support these groups.

Nobody stood up to support the project. Urban mines declined an invite and preferred to leave it to the Planning committee.

I think the towns highway strategy should be reviewed .As if there are restrictions put on towns traffic .The proposed increase in traffic could restrict opportunities in the future when quality jobs may become available.  

Recently I have been accused by politicians of stirring up the issue well I can tell those people, I make no apology for bringing this most important issue to the attention of the community of Castleford.

I must point out that five schools (over 2000 children) cross the adjacent roads. Wheldon has a walking bus to reduce traffic.

From this meeting I can assure the community of Castleford that we will take on these companies who want to dump in Castleford and drive home to their leafy suburbs ‘sorry ! those days are over’ Castleford will become our leafy suburb.   

It was agreed by all that we need a proactive approach to this issue and there was no shortage of volunteers to join the campaign protest team.

Someone ask what the group should be called I responded with ‘CASTLEFORD UNITED’I personally feel that the town is united in opposition to this scheme.

May I close by thanking all the people who attended and look forward to future meetings?

YOURS SINCERELY

Bill Clift M Ed  resident of Castleford