A DECISION on Nestle’s plans for a new bottling and warehouse facility has been deferred after councillors decided the application should be dealt with at the same time as the proposed pipeline to get water to the site.
The casting vote of the chairman of the Development Control Committee, Councillor David Mellor, determined that the two applications should not be dealt with in isolation after the committee had been evenly split on the issue.
Buxton Councillor John Faulkner said: “I feel very strongly this application should be dealt with at the same time as the application for the pipeline. I can’t understand why they were separate.”
A revised application for the pipeline is awaited after Nestle withdrew an earlier application following widespread criticism of the proposed route.
Some councillors said they did not want the situation where development had been approved but there was no way of getting water to the site
Councillor Chris Webster had also raised various issues including highway safety. He said it was surprising that Derbyshire County Council, the highway authority, had expressed little concern at the same time as they were looking at spending a large amount of money to make improvements to already busy roads. The issue is to be looked into by High Peak’s planning officers.
He said Nestle did not care what would happen to the Station Road site – whether it would become a scrap yard or a supermarket: “For them to say it will free up a town centre site is just farcical.”
The new site was open countryside. “It will be seem from the Peak District National Park we should bear in mind that the buildings are 50 feet high,” said Cllr Webster, adding that the water towers would be 65 feet high.
Planning officer Sue Ashworth said the bottling plant application was controversial as it was in countryside, but officers felt it met the requirements to be an exception as it would free up a site in the town centre, providing an opportunity for redevelopment and meet the requirements of Nestle who had been unable to find an alternative site.
Matt Beddoe, on behalf of Nestle, said the new water bottling plant would be state-of-the-art and the most innovative in the world.
“The current factory is too small and too old. We have considered all the industrial sites and they are too small.
“We believe we have chosen the best site next to an existing industrial development.”
He revealed that in 2005 98 million bottles of water were produced by the factory last year it was 280 million, of Buxton Water and Nestle Pure Life.
Mr Beddoe also highlighted the support provided by the firm to local events and support to recycling in partnership with the council in the town centre.
• High Peak Council – which had been criticised in last week’s Advertiser for claiming that it had no vested interest in the application – changed its report to councillors before the meeting to read: “The council receives an abstraction fee for the commercial use of Buxton Mineral Water.”