Councillors' fear traffic chaos
By Sam Casey
DEFIANT councillors have vowed to oppose a controversial £40million recycling plant plan amid fears about chaos on Castleford's roads.
In a letter printed in the Express this week, seven councillors say they will not back the "sustainable growth park" at the expense of residents' interests.
They say the 35-acre plant - earmarked for the old Wheldale and Fryston collieries site - is a good idea in principle, but add they would oppose "anything that undermines the regeneration strategy for Castleford".
Mark Burns-Williamson, councillor for Castleford Central and Glass Houghton, said: "We have real concerns about this plan.
"I don't have a problem with the concept because we have government targets to meet on recycling. We also welcome projects which bring more work to the people of Castleford - but not at any cost.
"To give the go-ahead to the plan as it is would mean a vast amount of traffic coming in and out of town and large goods vehicles trundling through residential areas.
"The voters of Castleford gave us a tremendous mandate at the local elections and we have a duty to listen to what people say. There's no way we will just sit back and just let this happen."
Coun Denise Jeffrey added: "Obviously, we all want to bring jobs to Castleford and recycling in principle isn't a bad idea.
"But we have big plans for Castleford and I don't want to see the town blighted by increased traffic. They still haven't addressed that issue."
The councillors' letter follows a flood of correspondence received by the Express about the potential traffic impact of the plan.
After our first report on the plant last month, several readers expressed concern that using the Fryston-Wheldale site would create havoc on Castleford's roads. Urban Mines, the company behind the proposals, has yet to submit a planning application to Wakefield Council.
Chief executive Jane Forshaw said: "We have undertaken a traffic impact assessment and the results and analysis of this are still awaited.
"We share the views that the councillors have expressed about not undermining the regeneration strategy for Castleford. We are aiming to assist, not cut across, other regeneration initiatives.
"We are working closely with the Wakefield planning, regeneration and highways departments as well as English Partnership in order to minimise the impact on current and potential activities in Castleford."
12 August 2004
Concern at proposed plant
By Sam Casey
DEVELOPERS planning a £40 million recycling plant in Castleford want to use the River Aire to ship waste into town.
Urban Mines, the organisation proposing to build the world's first "sustainable growth park" on the old Wheldale and Fryston Colliery site, outlined the river scheme at a public exhibition last week.
Chief executive Jane Forshaw said the measure would help to ease traffic pressure on the roads once the plant was up and running. But, she said, the park would still accept deliveries by lorry at a rate of about one every five minutes.
Ms Forshaw said: "We have the overall vision for the park, but at the moment the details are still to be ironed out. We are exploring the possible routes into the park and a traffic impact assessment is being carried out. The location of the site makes the river an ideal option."
Ms Forshaw was responding to concerns raised by residents about the possible effect of the plant on road congestion.
She added: "You can't make an omlette without cracking eggs, but we can do things in the proper way. This park would put Castleford on the map for environmental solutions."
The exhibition at The Jungle, Castleford Tigers' rugby ground on Wheldon Road, showed visitors how the 35-acre park would work. It would include facilities to recycle most waste materials - including plastic, glass and paper - and business units for businesses which could use the recycled products.
About 200 people attended the exhibition on Thursday and Friday. A spokesman said: "Overall we had a positive response about the principle and idea for the park, although some residents raised concerns about the specific location and road traffic issues." All comments would be taken into account, he added.
Urban Mines is due to submit a planning application to Wakefield Council. If successful, they hope the park would be in use by next year.
16 July 2004
300 jobs for town
By Sam Casey
MORE than 300 new jobs could be created in Castleford if plans for a pioneering £40 million recycling plant get the go-ahead.
But residents say the proposal for the UK's first "sustainable growth park" on the former Wheldale and Fryston pit site is a recipe for a road traffic nightmare.
Environmental body Urban Mines is holding an exhibition today (Thursday) and tomorrow to showcase its plan for the 35-acre business and industrial park.
Developers say the park would provide jobs in manufacturing and services, attract business to the town, boost recycling rates and create markets for recycled products.
But resident Bill Clift, of Edendale, said the amount of traffic and noise pollution created by the park would be intolerable.
"I don't think the roads are sufficient to take the volume of traffic," he said. "We are spending a lot of money developing the town centre and we are finally turning it around. Why do we want to put more dirt and filth in the area? We need to take a long-term view."
Tony Reeves, deputy chief executive of Wakefield Council, said: "The proposed park in Castleford is the first of its kind anywhere. We fully expect there will be issues for us to resolve as the planning authority to make sure that the project is in the interests of the district and its citizens.
"We look forward to working with the developers to explore the potential of this proposal and how it can contribute to us developing a dynamic local economy."
The public exhibition at The Jungle, Castleford Tigers' Wheldon Road rugby ground, is open from noon-9pm today and 9am-7pm tomorrow.
08 July 2004