SOMERSET County Councillors have granted permission for a new materials reprocessing factory to be built in Westonzoyland.

The new facility is planned for a 1.3 hectare site, located to the north of the existing Springway Lane Business Park on the former airfield site.

The plan is to establish a materials reprocessing factory (MRF) where hardcore and aggregates, road planings, topsoil, wood and green waste can be recovered, sorted, and recycled prior to being dispatched from the plant for re-use.

It is anticipated up to 50,000 tonnes of waste would be processed at the site each year.

This would see hardcore and road planings crushed where necessary into various-sized aggregate, soils screened into topsoils and subsoils, wood chipped for biomass boilers, and green waste shredded for off-site composting.

To facilitate this the factory will need a crusher, screener, front-loader, shredder and wheeled excavator.

It is proposed the site would operate 7am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, with the possibility of occasional working 7am to 1pm on Saturday.

Access to the site is proposed via an existing farm track that links the northernmost part of the site to the A372.

The proposed operations would generate around 36 HGV movements per day.

Westonzoyland Parish Council objected to the proposal, citing concerns over ‘previous unauthorised development on the site’, environmental impacts, proximity of residential properties and adverse effects on the nearby Langmead Site of Special Scientific Interest and highways.

However the Environment Agency did not raise an objection, nor has the ecological adviser or highways development control.

John Telling from Towens told the committee the facility would make it easier for waste in the Taunton and Bridgwater area to be efficiently recycled.

He said: “We are proposing to bring inert materials here for further processing so that they are suitable for reuse.

“As well as creating five new jobs, this will reduce road miles for transporting materials from the Taunton and Bridgwater area to our current site in Weston-super-Mare.”

Alan Hurford, clerk of Westonzoyland Parish Council, raised concerns about how the new facility would impact on the villagers’ quality of life.

He said: “We have excessive HGV and skip movements through the village already.

“The noise will affect the well-being of the mobile home owners a few hundred yards away, and the smell could exacerbate respiratory conditions people may have.”

Cllr Mike Caswell, who lived in Westonzoyland for more than 20 years, said he was worried about the safety record of the main road.

He said: “The A372 is regarded as being an extremely dangerous road.

“There have been countless deaths and injuries on that road, and the council has identified it for major improvement.”

Cllr John Parham, who chairs the committee, said conditions could be put in place requiring Towens to improve visibility from the access road.