Local people in Tonge Fold and the Oakenbottom Road area of Breightmet are demanding that there be no return to a waste storage operation at Oakenbottom Road, after it emerged that Bolton Council is seeking to lease the land, with “permission for a waste site”.
The site was in use up until 2016, when the owners, Chadwick and Son’s, went into liquidation, after repeatedly ignoring instructions from the Environment Agency relating to the storage of waste. Long suffering local people had long complained to the Council and the Agency about the frequent foul and toxic smells, the frequent fires and the dangerous condition of the site. Councillor Nick Peel, who represents Tonge with the Haulgh said “We celebrated when they finally packed up, but when they left the land, they left a nightmare of a mess for the Council to sort out. We simply could not allow the site to be left as it was with hundreds of tonnes of waste, some of which was contaminated, and an incredibly dangerous fire risk. Ultimately, it cost the Council nearly £3 million for the specialist clean up operation and to make the site safe.”
As a result, the council took ownership of the site, and in 2020, the owners of Chadwick and Sons were finally prosecuted by the Environment Agency, receiving suspended sentences, but no money returned to the Council.
However, it has now come to light that the Council is advertising the land for lease and is pointing out to perspective end-users that the land has planning permission in place to use again for waste storage and transfer.
Cllr Peel continued “The planning designation of the land is for waste storage, but the Council, as the landowner is free to choose who they lease this land to. I have contacted the relevant council Director and have made it clear that I strongly oppose any future lease of this land that involves waste storage. I have received a number of enquiries about this from residents of both Tonge Fold and Breightmet, and have assured them that I will do all I can to stop the clock being turned back. There are many other potential uses for the land, and I would at least like to see the community getting something back.”
It is understood that ultimately, the decision on the terms of a lease will be made by Cllr Adele Warren, the Cabinet Member with responsibility for land and property, and Cllr Peels request has yet to be decided upon.