It is no wonder residents have mixed feelings over the latest events surrounding Marlbrook Tip. On the one hand, a near-ten-year “nightmare” is probably over; but as they awake from it, they are rubbing their eyes in disbelief at a council that appears to be sweeping more than a million cubic metres of dirt under the carpet.
The Village first reported on this saga in 2002 when people were already complaining about the lorries heaving tons of soil and other building waste past their homes up the Lickey Hills.
On balance, however, it seemed that a company taking on the environmental problem of capping a vast, abandoned tip – a task Bromsgrove District Council itself had declined – was to be supported. At that time, we were told by the company there would be a golf course on the site “in three years”.
Five years later, in April 2007, villagers at a heated and packed public meeting in Lickey were told they faced yet another two years of heavy, dirty lorries pounding up and down their roads.
At that meeting, residents heard engineers had calculated the site needed 375,000 cubic metres of “material” and so far it taken about 100,000. An engineer told the meeting this could take another two years: a resident told the meeting they were “in a living hell from 8am until those lorries finish”.
Those two years passed, then another two . . . until, at last, earlier this year a new head of planning took up her post at Bromsgrove, took one look at Marlbrook Tip and got the lorries stopped.
She then commissioned a survey which found that the site had exceeded the amount of waste it could import and spread over the Lickeys by 1.08 MILLION cubic metres.
This officer is the residents’ shining light, but what of Bromsgrove District Council as a whole, which allowed this to happen?
Well, it put out a press release saying that residents on the Marlbrook Tip Monitoring Group, who for years had been complaining to no avail of overtipping, had agreed the best way forward was for a retrospective planning application to effectively legitimise the overtipping.
The residents tell us they agreed no such thing.
Their frustration now is palpable and understandable. The suggested solution may well be the only sensible one, but those residents who were for so long ignored by those paid to represent them deserve something more.
A simple “sorry” might be a good first step . . .