PLANS to permanently double the capacity of a composting site near Cricklade have received the green light even though local councillors claim lorries are already shaking the town to pieces

A Wiltshire Council planning committee has approved the bid by Hills Waste Solutions to process 50,000 tonnes of green waste from across Wiltshire at the Parkgate Farm site close to Purton.

Locals and councillors have long objected to the plans, which were rejected at appeal in 2015, over concerns about lorries rumbling down narrow country lanes and Cricklade High Street.

The move will see the number of HGVs double to 30 loads a day, travelling to and from the site down the narrow B4553 Cricklade Road towards Purton, a committee report confirmed.

Most could access the site via the Malmesbury Road and Chelworth Industrial Estate, but in the worst case scenario they will be routed through Cricklade.

Wiltshire councillor for Cricklade Bob Jones slammed the decision and said the Chelworth Road was dangerous for trucks to use. It had been well known for major accidents in the past.

He told the Adver: “That road was never made to serve a trading estate, nor to be a route for HGVs. Two HGVs are struggling to pass each other there so they are up on the verges.

“If that planning committee came and stood in Cricklade for a day they might have had second thoughts. It’s shaking the town to pieces, and at the annual town meeting last week it was the highest priority for Cricklade residents.”

“It’s the straw that could break the camel’s back,” he added

Mark Clark of Cricklade town council said: “The transport statement contains fundamental errors. Operators say the traffic changes will be imperceptible and negligible. It shows there are 398 HGV movements a day. If you’re living on the route with lorries going past your front door, an extra five or six is just another nail in the coffin.”

Wiltshire councillor for Purton Jacqui Lay added: “Some of these lorries are huge, and these are minor rural roads. Cricklade is really suffering, it’s not just the waste lorries. Is it necessary to have 50,000 tonnes, and more to the point, if it’s a strategic site for Wiltshire, should we be looking at a strategic route on the road network?”

At another composting site in Lower Compton, Calne, permission has been granted to build an access road to avoid the traffic going through the town centre.

Simon Allen, waste operation manager at Hills, said: “This area is a preferred area for outdoor composting, designated in the waste local plan in 2011. Since 2012 it has taken the vast majority of green waste for residents of Wiltshire.

“The county currently produces 40,000 tonnes of green waste, which is likely to increase as more houses are built. 50,000 tonnes is a reasonable limit.