CONTROVERSIAL plans for a new pipeline and water bottling plant to be built on a greenfield site on the outskirts of Buxton have been given the go-ahead.
A new state-of-the-art bottling and warehousing facility for Nestle was approved despite going against many planning policies.
A majority of members on the Development Control Committee decided there were special circumstances that meant the building, up to 220 metres wide, 115 metres deep and 13.5 metres high, should be approved.
They agreed with the recommendation from officers that it had been demonstrated that there was a need for the move, it would open up regeneration opportunities in the town centre, remove HGV traffic and that there were no other suitable sites.
A Nestle spokeswoman said the massive investment in the new facility would enable them to remain competitive, allow them to increase capacity and improve environmental performance.
But Batham Gate resident Mr Walton, speaking on behalf of his neighbours, said their community had already been blighted by developments and this proposal would be even worse. “It is important to realise the size of this thing. It is longer, wider and higher than Spring Gardens Centre.”
Cllr Chris Webster questioned if any other company looking to relocate would have been able to build on a greenfield site: “It is substantial intrusion into countryside.”
Cllr Michael Harrison said he was not convinced the case had been made to go against planning policies.
The changes to the pipeline route, which now avoids Fairfield Road, were welcomed and will now go through Hogshaw Villas Road, around the edge of playing fields and Buxton and High Peak Golf Course, and along Waterswallows Road.
However, 27 letters and a 229-name petition objecting to the pipeline had been submitted, highlighting disruption to residents and businesses and concerns over asbestos disposal.
Two letters were received in support
Cllr John Faulkner said there would be disruption to the town centre but the applicant had shown they were prepared to work hard to alleviate it.
And Cllr Chris Pearson said the move needed to happen and that the route that would cause the minimum disruption had now been chosen.
But Cllr Webster said he did not think the committee had enough technical information.
Development Control Manager Andy Ellis said the technical issues would be dealt with through the necessary licences and agencies that Nestle would have to satisfy.
The committee was told the work on the bottling plant and pipeline could start as early as May or June and would be expected to take six to eight months to complete.