Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Stink over Holme on Spalding Moor

Many of you will have noticed the foul smell that drifted over the village of Holme on Spalding Moor last Friday afternoon and evening (9th May), and many thanks to residents for the calls and emails. I spoke at length to both ERYC Public Protection and the Environment Agency and was reassured to find they were both ‘on the case’ visiting the site at approx 9pm that same evening. The source of the smell was identified and offending composter contacted, and told to remedy the situation. I spent some time with residents in HOSM on Saturday morning and whilst the smell was not as bad there was an intermittent stink drifting over from behind the hill. It is clearly not acceptable for a composter to subject residents to such a vile stench at anytime, let alone on a Friday evening, and rest assurred I will continue to work to improve the situation.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Planning Committee halts 17-house Gilberdyke development

The East Riding of Yorkshire Council Western Area Planning Committee has thrown out a recent proposal for the building of a 17-house estate on the field east of the Claytons Fold development in Gilberdyke.

There is an issue of whether this is a ‘Greenfield’ meadow or a previously used ‘Brownfield’ site…. But it did seem that the applicant was at odds with opinions of long-standing residents of Gilberdyke who contacted me and provided the photographs that contradicted the case put forward for designation of a ‘Brownfield’ site.

The committee agreed with me that the two important issues that should be considered were foul and surface water drainage, and whether the existing village infrastructure could cope with additional housing.

I was absolutely amazed by the consultation comments from Yorkshire Water. Who appeared to be unaware that 56 houses were flooded in Gilberdyke during last June’s flooding with some residents still not back in their houses, or that the sewers flooded again in January this year. I could not believe that Yorkshire Water’s planners did not know about these specific incidents or that their sewers flood on a regular basis, or that the school was closed for a week last June, not because of the building being flooded but because the school toilets could not be flushed as the sewers were full.

I asked the committee to consider the location and the proximity to Hansard Crescent, which was just spared the flooding experienced last year, as this green field was able to absorb the run off from Clayton’s Fold, and more importantly from Hansard. What would be the impact on Hansard Crescent if this field were concreted over with houses built with higher floor levels because of the flood risk?

The quantity of housing development that Gilberdyke has been forced to endure recently was also raised, it was pointed out there have been 111 houses completed in the last 4 years, 30 more started and 18 more still to commence. A total of 151 houses with no investment in village infrastructure or services.

It was also established that when the Parish Council consulted the community some 460 residents from over 350 households responded, saying they did not want to see any further significant housing or industrial development until there was investment in village infrastructure. Only 7 people had the opposing view.

The Committee’s decision was a victory for common sense and showed Gilberdyke residents concerns have been listened to.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Gilberdyke School judged 'OUTSTANDING' by Ofsted inspector

Gilberdyke Primary School has been judged as outstanding after a recent Ofsted inspection. I am immensely proud of Head teacher Martin Alger’s leadership of the school, and all the other teachers and staff, but particularly the pupils who made this possible.

Of the 27 categories inspected, 25 were judged to be ‘outstanding’ and 2 ‘good’.

The Lead inspector said: "I judge that Gilberdyke Primary School gives you an excellent education".

I am also proud to be the Chair of the School Governing Body; my role is made very much easy by having a great team in my fellow Governors, including those from within the community, the Head, members of staff and our ERYC clerking officer Roger Bohling. They can also pride themselves on their ‘outstanding’ judgement for the way in they discharge their responsibilities.

Thank you and well done!!

Spaldington Composter's Planning Application Thrown Out!

At the meeting yesterday (1st May 2008) of the East Riding of Yorkshire Council's Planning Committee the application by a Spaldington composter/farmer to increase the range of waste materials he could compost and also to increase the days he is allowed to spread compost on his fields was thrown out. This is a committee on which I sit, but because of my involvement in the campaign on behalf of Howdenshire residents I was allowed to speak but NOT to vote. Therefore I would like to thank my fellow members from all parties for their decision.

This is very good news for residents of Spaldington, Eastrington and other communities who have to put up with the stench from this site as it is, without having an already diabolical situation made worse.

I would just like to say that the applicant, through his agent refused to allow me as a member of the Planning Committee to attend the site visit to inspect his operation the day before, I decided not to push this issue, but I do wonder why I was singled out from the rest of the committee? Was it because I have a good basic knowledge of composting and may have asked a difficult question, seen something I shouldn’t have, or had the applicant got something to hide. If everything was in order and above board what had he to fear? I will leave it for you to decide…..

I am led to believe from members that the applicant had made a special effort to clean his facility as some ‘photographers’ were due on site. Residents confirmed this cleaning had been continuing the previous day. It is also alleged that compost had been recently been moved from the composting sheds to the maturation heaps in the fields.

Many remember the foot and mouth epidemic in 2001, when it was later found the origins of the disease came from contaminated meat products in pigswill, a process which is now banned. So my question here was: Why was a farmer hoping to bring into our communities those self and same ingredients once used in this now banned process, from other parts of the country to be introduced into this composing process?

Let’s be clear here…. This application was a request by a composter to increase the ingredients he takes in to include; starch products, beef burgers, fleece trimmings, pet food by-products, bakery products including pizza, tannery scrapings, prawn shells and sewage sludge. This is from a farmer who raises livestock on the same site. I cannot comprehend the sense in even thinking about doing this - and neither could the Planning Committee.

Local MP David Davis adds:

“I am delighted at this result. It will be a relief to the people of the surrounding area. I hope it will be reflected in other planning decisions of this nature.”