Locals are getting increasingly aggravated by Elmbridge Borough Council’s failure to openly criticise plans for one of Hersham’s green belt sites to be made into a waste recycling plant.
If put in action, the plan will entail the transformation of Weylands Treatment Works into a much larger 10 acre waste recycling and recovery park, with a boundary that impedes on a large area of greenery that performs an important role in separating the built up areas of Walton on Thames and Esher.
The park would feature a 5,300-square metre anaerobic digestion facility with a 25m chimney stack, four anaerobic digestion tanks, another 4m stack, 16 parking spaces, a 1.76-hectare recycling facility, a construction and demolition waste recycling area, a skip hire facility and a storage area. The proposed park is said to be capable of processing 195,000 tonnes of waste a year.
Local concerns have been sparked over fears that the plant would create an increase of traffic on the surrounding roads, and possibly more lorry-related accidents. At the moment, experts are predicting an approximate 2% increase in peak-hour vehicle movements on nearby roads. There is also anguish over the fact that the chimney stack will be a terrible eyesore, and confusion over the short notice and perceived communication failure between residents and officials.
John Lisle, acting honorary secretary of the Walton Society, wrote in a letter to the Council: "It appears from the planning application documents that not only will there be more than twice the numbers of lorries that use the site at the moment, but that the type of vehicles will be the heaviest than can be used on public roads.”
However proponents of the plan argue that while there would be a small increase in vehicle movements caused by the new site, this could easily be offset by closing the existing access to the south of the site.
Clean Power Properties and Bridge Court Holdings, the two companies behind the plan, have publicly said that the redevelopment would offer a unique opportunity to transform a waste management site with inferior infrastructure into a modern efficient recycling and recovery park that is “fit for purpose and can accommodate modern recycling facilities and ancillary businesses”.
The debate continues.