One of the very first letters I wrote as a councillor back in 1995 related to the quarry at Buck Park in Denholme. At that time it seemed that the Council viewed landfill as a "solution" to the problem of over-quarrying at Buck Park. And so, a year or two later along came a planning application for the further extension of the quarry followed by landfilling with domestic waste.
At a meeting in Denholme Mechanics Institute it all seemed very calm as the plans were explained, lots of promises were made to the village and I sat there bemused as to the lack of opposition. It needed a spark and that came from a man called Dominic Clark who lived at Buck Park Farm right next to the proposed tip. From the back of the full hall his voice of opposition cut through the previous sense of acquiescence and we had a campaign.
Some twelve years later, it seems we might have finally got to the end of this story. After a planning refusal, an inspector granting permission, a judicial review and a high court case there arrived another planning application for landfill. Bradford Council refused this application and yesterday the Inspector published her findings from the appeal:
However, in a decision report published yesterday, the inspector said there was “no need” for a landfill site in the Bradford district, particularly in such a “sensitive location” as Buck Park.
There wasn't really a need twelve years ago but I know that, had Dominic not stood up and objected at the meeting all those years ago, we would have a landfill in Denholme. I know that without the campaigners - Sharon, Brian, Frances, Graham and many, many others - we would have a landfill in Denholme. And I know that without the villagers of Denholme raising thousands of pounds to pay for lawyers, expert witnesses and consultants we would have a land fill in Denholme.
I am thrilled for all those ordinary folk, none of them rich, none of them planning experts, whose efforts have stopped this landfill. Stopped it so the nesting peregrines can hover over the village, stopped it so the ravens, badgers and stoats have an undisturbed home. Stopped it so the village doesn't have hundreds of tip wagons thundering through every day.