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BBC Report: Powys Council ‘naive’ over contaminated waste site

A council has been accused of “naivety” after granting a contested change to its own planning application.

Asbestos has been found at Abermule Business Park where Powys Council wants to build a £4m recycling facility.

The authority passed a non-material amendment so the site is not classified as contaminated land and work is allowed to begin.

However, councilor Elwyn Vaughan said the decision “sends out the wrong message”.

“It never ceases to amaze me how politically naive we seem to be on the messages we send out when we present applications in our own right,” he said.

Abermule councilor Martin Aymes said: “The original conditions were included for the primary reason of protecting people and the natural environment from potential exposure to harmful contamination.”

The council said it believed the material was on the “extremity” of the site and posed a low risk.

“The presence of the asbestos is very limited, in reality, you could find it elsewhere on the site,” said its contaminated land officer David Jones.

“But the actual development itself will make safe any of those issues.”

An appeal by councilor Gwilym Williams to check whether the rest of the site was contaminated was rejected by the authority as a “waste of time and resources”.

Planning development manager Peter Morris said the principle of development there had been agreed and the council were “tripping over” conditions that were “not helpful” in allowing the development to happen.

The application was passed by the council’s planning committee by nine votes to five, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.