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Campaigners vow to fight Nant Llesg mine plan appeal

Published in News on Thursday January 7th, 2016. Last updated at 07:26

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Campaigners against a proposed opencast mine at the top of the Rhymney Valley have vowed to fight a planning appeal by the developer behind the scheme.

In August last year Caerphilly County Borough Council’s Planning Committee rejected an application for the Nant Llesg mine by developer Miller Argent in the face of strong local opposition.

The planned mine would have seen six million tonnes of coal mined over at least 14 years on a 478 hectare site, offering up to 239 jobs.

But a campaign led by residents, environmentalists and climate change activists urged councillors to go against the local authority’s planning officers and reject the application on the grounds of visual impact.

Miller Argent has now lodged an appeal with the Welsh Government’s Planning Inspectorate to build the mine between Fochriw and Rhymney.

United Valleys Action Group vice-chair Eddy Blanche said campaigners were ready for the fight.

He said: “We are more than prepared as we knew there would be a very good chance Miller Argent would put their appeal in.

“We will continue to fight them. The council don’t want the mine and nor do we.”

In a written statement to Caerphilly Observer, Miller Argent confirmed it had submitted an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) on December 23 last year.

It said: “The decision to refuse was against the advice of the council’s own professional officers, who recommended that the planning committee accept the proposal with particular regard to the significant economic and social benefits it would bring.

“We know that many local people were disappointed by the refusal. However, Miller Argent are fully committed to the Nant Llesg project which could bring up to 239 highly paid jobs and considerable inward investment to the Rhymney Valley, as well as millions of pounds worth of additional benefits to the local community.

“A copy of the documents submitted to PINS was sent to Caerphilly County Borough Council.

“This matter is now primarily the responsibility of the Planning Inspectorate and they will make it clear over time what the process and procedure will be for the consideration of the appeal.”

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  • Triban-Wales

    It remains to be seen now if Staff employed by Caerphilly County Borough Council will follow the instructions of their employer and assist the planning appeal in stating and supporting the Council`s case for refusal.

    It has, in recent years, seemed to have become the `norm for planning officers employed by the Council to ignore and munipulate the statutory consultation processes in respect to local planning issues.

    I would cite the recent case of the Manchester House proposed development in Caerphilly town, A planning Officer, independently of anyone else. decided that the extensive overdevelopment of this `site` was reasonable and sustainable, but they did not count on a lively and very active campaign by local residents, conducted after local Plaid Cymru Ward Councillors for St Martins ward, and the entire Town Council, failed to respond to residents concerns. After A Campaign Led by two prominant nearby local residents the attention of the community was galvinised against the recommendation to pass the plans for the site, as a result Senior Labour Caerphilly County Councillors accepted the fears of local residents and forced a look again, and a reconsideration of the planning officers recommendation, eventually the planning application was refused and the planning officers actions reversed.

    Democracy working ? a complete waste of ratepayers money by planning officers failing properly, earlier, to consider the views and concerns of residents,? or, incompitence????? and who picks up the bill for these failures,? not the applicant, not the Planning Officer, but the Council Tax ratepayer, there are a number of departments in the Council which are appearing to be out of control and which appears to be powered by its own momentum without properly representing the views of thier paymasters ( The Ratepayer) Highways, Planning, environmental services, Regeneration, all of which have a forgotten DUTY to consult residents on everything they do, but until Elected Councillors call them to account, to make them accountable to residents, and ensure they talk and `listen` to ratepayers, we will continue to pick up the bill for endemic failures.

    • Ian Pritchard

      The figure of 239 jobs is an emotive fallacy, it is a worthless projection. I have copies of Miller Argents Annual Returns going back to 2010 which are in the public domain, and anyone can see the 239 figure is absolute nonsense. Also it does not take into account the NET LOSS of jobs that this would bring to RHYMNEY in particular with the closure of existing businesses and factories that cannot coexist against such a filthy environment, ask the Director of RICHARDS & APPLEBY for a statement to balance the propaganda from the mine operator!