Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Press Release 08/05/2012


Residents Oppose Planning Application

Local residents from the Woodstone Village area have united to oppose a planning application submitted to Durham County Council by local petrol distribution company Par Petroleum.

The planning application which is supported by the local planning team at Durham County Council, states that the company must expand its operations on the former Lumley Sixth Pit site in order to satisfy a new contract which the company has recently been awarded to store and distribute highly flammable aviation fuel.

However, in order to do this, it will be necessary to transform a well established green belt which forms part of the Great North Forest and which is currently overlooked by the majority of residents living in the Chesters Wood housing development, into a storage area for heavy goods vehicles and petrol tankers. The application also describes the need to erect 12 metre tall security lights which are powerful enough to light up sports stadia, as well as build drains which are able to cope with any form of fuel spillage to minimise environmental risks should a spillage occur.

Led by neighbours Andrew Lister and Marc Hopkinson on behalf of local residents, the campaign has been endorsed by Local Councillors and Member of Parliament for North Durham Kevan Jones; with hundreds of home owners as well as the local primary school submitting their objections to the proposal to the local council. 

Hopkinson said: The message we want to communicate to the council is that it is not appropriate to turn a well established green belt back into an industrial site, particularly as many people have bought houses in the area to benefit and enjoy the open space.

Nor does this type of operation have a place in a residential setting either as it poses far too many risks, not only to the environment but to people living and working around the site as well. The local roads will not be able to cope with the increase in number of heavy goods vehicles and tankers, whilst the storage of aviation fuels is extremely dangerous to start with never mind it being so close to a densely populated housing estate.

In fact the County Durham and Darlington Community Risk Register - written by our local Emergency Services such as the Fire Brigade, Police and Ambulance Service - describes how the impact area for a major incident on this site such as an explosion would be approximately One Kilometre wide with 15 fatalities expected. This impact area would include our housing estate, the A1 motorway, local business located next to the site, a primary school and a nursing home. You have only got to look at the damage, danger and disruption caused at Buncefield, a petrol storage site in Hemel Hempstead when that exploded in 2005.

It is clear that the council, in their support for this planning application, have not considered any wider impacts or risks which would be caused by agreeing to this proposal - a failing which to be honest is very worrying and needs to be addressed immediately and the application subsequently rejected .


Media Enquiries
Please contact Marc Hopkinson on 07771 932830 or Andrew Lister on 07880 507471 or e-mail woodstone@hotmail.com for further information. 

For reference:

Par Petroleum, Par House, Woodstone Village Industrial Estate, Fencehouses, Houghton-Le-Spring, Tyne & Wear, DH4 6DU, Tel: 0191 3858001. Par Petroleum is a sub contractor to JET Fuels ltd a ConocoPhillips Company.

Woodstone Village is a former mining community within the parish of Little Lumley consisting of terraced streets and a modern housing estate built in 2000.

Councillors for Little Lumley Parish

Audrey Willis, audrey.willis@durham.gov.uk 01913886646
Alan Bell, alan.bell@durham.gov.uk 01913891831

Local MP for North Durham, Kevan Jones, Labour, www.kevanjonesmp.org.uk

Planning Application reference: 2/12/00078/FUL, related documents can be accessed via http://planning-cls.durham.gov.uk/publicaccess

Blog: www.woodstonevillage.com

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