Landfill legal battle ends

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RESIDENTS who took legal action to cap a growing landfill site just yards from their doorsteps have dropped their high court case.

Angry homeowners in Harvester Close, in Seaton Carew, Hartlepool, took action claiming the site in Thomlinson Road has “destroyed” their quality of life.

They sought legal advice to try and cap and landscape the site, but have now dropped their judicial review case against Hartlepool Borough Council and Stranton Waste Salvage (SWS), a subsidiary company of Niramax Holdings.

A group of 23 residents, including Samantha Banks, had formed RAWOOD (Residents Against Waste On Our Doorstep) and enlisted Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) after complaining of noise and smells coming from the mound on the Longhill Industrial Estate.

Their solicitors were asked to take action to force SWS to stop tipping and start landscaping and to make Hartlepool Borough Council enforce the change.

But any court battle is over as the group now hopes to come to a “timely conclusion” without the need for a judge.

A joint statement from RAWOOD and Niramax said: “We can confirm that the judicial review case is no longer being pursued through court proceedings and arrangements are being made to agree a satisfactory and timely conclusion to landfilling activities by all parties concerned.”

A council spokesman said officers had nothing further to add.

The application to build houses on the site was approved in January 2002, the same time permission was granted to extend the life of the landfill.

But the housing plans were granted “without any knowledge” of the landfill application.

A further planning application was approved in February 2003 that required the landfill, which has been used to deposit waste that creates strong odours, be capped within one year and landscaped.

Members of RAWOOD say they have repeatedly raised their concerns with the council, who maintain the landfill has permission to deposit waste until 2018.

Officers at the Environment Agency also visited the site weekly responding to complaints from residents or to carry out audits.