Hangleton Bottom will be officially listed as a potential “waste management” site despite a last-ditch stand by a local councillor.
Councillor Tony Janio said: “Hangleton Bottom is simply unsuitable for any form of waste transfer or waste processing site. That area has been under threat for many, many years.”
The vacant site, next to the A27 Brighton bypass and the A293 link road, was last formally used during the building of the bypass in the early 1990s.
But the Conservative councillor was accused of playing politics as he tried to remove it from a list of potential sites for dealing with rubbish and recycling.
He spoke out at a Brighton and Hove City Council meeting at Hove Town Hall yesterday evening (Thursday 19 January).
He had concerns about a possible plan to build an anaerobic digester there and said that they should be kept as far from homes and population centres as possible. He had worries about traffic and potentially hazardous gases.
Labour councillor Gill Mitchell, the deputy leader of the council, said: “I am finding this quite astonishing. We are now seeing politics being played at this late stage with this report.
“This plan has been three years in the making and it has gone through extensive rounds of consultation.”
An independent official planning inspector had found it compliant with the law and sound, she said, adding that it other local authorities were also in the process of formally adopting it.
The plan – the Waste and Minerals Sites Plan – consists of a joint set of policies forming part of a broader Waste and Minerals Local Plan.
It is also being adopted by the South Downs National Park Authority and East Sussex County Council.
Councillor Mitchell said: “This has been a really thorough, extensive and legally compliant process.
“Now Councillor Janio wants to throw everything up in the air, potentially leaving us without a plan.”
She said that adopting the plan would protect other sites in Brighton and Hove from being used for things like handling rubbish.
And she added: “I’m pretty disappointed with these antics.”
Councillor Janio said: “Isn’t democracy uncomfortable sometimes! I am elected every four years to represent the people of Hangleton and Knoll and I will do my damnedest to respond to their wishes.
“I’ve raised this at every opportunity. This is not politics. This is standing up for my residents.”
He called on Les Hamilton, a long-serving Labour councillor for South Portslade, to support him.
But Councillor Hamilton said: “I’m very sorry to disappoint Councillor Janio. In no way will I second any amendment to delete Hangleton Bottom from the waste plan.”
He referred to a map of the area and said: “How many Hangleton houses are there shown on that map? Absolutely none.
“The houses … are all in the North Portslade Ward. And back in the days of Hove council, I represented Portslade North so I’ve met quite a few people in that area.
“They’re quite happy with the land as it is now – just open land with the horses grazing on it.
“They’re happy with that because they know nothing further can be done on that land without a planning application and this … plan means that anything other than a waste site will not in fact be acceptable.
“So they’re quite happy with this and they wouldn’t want to find it was removed from the plan and something else could come along.”
The opposition Conservative leader, Councillor Geoffrey Theobald, said: “On a number of occasions we have raised our concerns about Hangleton Bottom. We’ve opposed this many times. We’ve been outvoted.
“The people of North Portslade and Hangleton and Knoll would much prefer to see this land used for housing than as a waste transfer site with all the vehicles and such like.”
The report pointed out various constraints affecting the site’s potential, he said, and added: “Councillor Janio is absolutely right in once again drawing attention to this and trying to exclude this site from the waste plan.”
Before the debate got under way, one of the council’s most senior officers, Nick Hibberd, spoke briefly about the plan.
He told the council’s Policy, Resources and Growth Committee: “The plan sets out ambitious targets for sustainable waste management aiming to reduce the proportion of all waste sent to landfill to 2 per cent by 2026.
“The sites plan safeguards existing waste management infrastructure and identifies suitable locations for the new waste recycling and recovery facilities that are required to meet the targets in the 2013 plan.”
Councillors were told that the coal yard between the Sackville Trading Estate and the railway line had been removed as a potential waste site. This had been agreed by a planning inspector and the Secretary of State.
Mr Hibberd added that the plan was also intended to protect minerals and reserves – and minerals capacity at ports across the area including Shoreham – to support economic growth. These included gypsum, sand, gravel and clay.
Councillor Phélim Mac Caffertty, the Green group convenor, flagged up concerns about the lack of local land-won aggregates.
The plan highlights the high level of aggregates imported through and landed at Shoreham Port and is intended to protect its wharves from other forms of development.
Councillor Janio’s attempt to defeat the plan was defeated and the committee gave its approval.
It will go before the meeting of the full council next Thursday (26 January) for final approval.