Midlothian planning: Residents fuming after waste transfer site approved for industrial estate
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Residents and business owners in Loanhead are fuming after the council approved plans to change the use of land at Eldin Industrial Estate that will see a massive waste transfer facility on site. Plans were green-lit to create a 25,000 tonne capacity waste transfer facility comprising washer plant to clean and separate soils from waste – with machinery located next to Straiton Pond nature reserve and several hundred newly built houses.
Despite concerns being raised about the impact on wildlife and safe routes to a nearby school, Midlothian planning committee approved the plans by nine votes to seven. More than 200 objections were submitted with only 2 supporting comments. Local residents and businesses told the Evening News they feel they have been ‘ignored’.
Among the top concerns cited are an increase in traffic which will see around 60 HGV movements per day. One business owner on the estate branded this ”totally unacceptable”. He said: “I can’t believe this has been approved. It seems more than 200 people are being ignored. I have already had to spend ridiculous amounts of money to have telephone lines repaired, parking bollards repaired, walls repaired, signs repaired, all of which have been caused by the current waste management's lorries from a skip hire recycling operation on site.
"Myself and my customers also must regularly get punctures sorted due to the state of the road. It’s wrecked with lorries as it is. This would be made even worse with the addition of more vehicles tearing up and down it. The air quality in the estate is bad. Cars and bins are covered in dust and it’s hard to breathe properly. This will only get worse with more big vehicles and machinery. Loanhead as a town will likely be affected by dust and odour from the site.”
It comes after Hamilton Waste and Recycling, which already operates Smeaton Bing in East Lothian applied for a change of use of brownfield land at the estate just off the A720, for its expansion. The estate currently houses a number of businesses including a recycling firm, mechanics, gardening, joinery and a music recording studio. Many say the adjacent Loanhead Railway Path which runs alongside the proposed development will become “almost unusable” during the day due to noise, dust and air pollution. Some are concerned about drainage water as its claimed there’s already flooding and water backing up at the bottom of the estate.
A local resident who asked not to be named said: “Many strongly oppose this development. Major concerns appear to have been completely dismissed by the committee. The firm has been granted permission despite this development contradicting a number of Midlothian council's published policies surrounding protected spaces and industrial impact on local communities. The applicant announced they plan to draw water from the local burn despite a report stating that drawing from the local burn would be completely unacceptable with an adverse effect on local wildlife and water quality for miles around.”
The site, which was originally used as a slaughterhouse, had been used by other waste transfer firms for more than 20 years before the last one closed in 2019. A spokesperson for Midlothian council said: “The planning committee granted planning permission at its meeting of 28 February 2023 for a waste transfer station after consideration of all the issues, including the matters raised by the objectors. The site is within an existing industrial estate and was previously used as a waste transfer station for 20 years.”