Residents’ anger at explosive storage plans at former Tockwith Airfield

Angry residents fear an explosion could occur following Harrogate Borough Council’s approval for a storage site for 85 tonnes of explosive material at former Tockwith Airfield.

Monday, 4th November 2019, 3:54 pm

Furious locals voiced their displeasure and concerns after the council’s planning committee approved explosives supply company Brexco’s application for the storage facility, despite hundreds of written objections.

Coun Norm Waller, the ward member for the area who had previously spoken in opposition to the plans, said afterwards that residents could “quite rightly” feel like they had been ignored.

“We all talk about democracy – today has shown that democracy isn’t working,” he said.

His views were echoed by Tockwith Residents’ Association chairman Peter Poozman, who said planning committee members had failed to take into account residents’ concerns that a 2010 incident, in which there was an explosion at the BCB Environmental Waste Services at the nearby Marston Moor Business Park, could be repeated.

He also said little was done to ease worries about the remote location of the site potentially attracting crime.

“I don’t think they’ve taken into account our concerns... Nothing was done to reassure our concerns about police response times. It’s all gone through on the nod,” he said.

The decision comes after a consultation process which saw more than 200 objections and 600 signatures received on a petition opposing the proposal.

Councillors were split on the motion, ahead of eventually voting six to four in favour of it.

Speaking against the proposal, Coun Tom Watson voiced his concerns about it and said that no perimeter fencing around the site meant “anyone could wander in”.

However, Coun Nigel Simms moved to support officers’ recommendation that the proposal be approved. “If there was any remote chance of this being insecure, the police would have objected and they haven’t,” he said.

An agent for the applicant said that each of the containers was designed to withstand any explosive incidents, with each individual bund fenced off.