Call to end Varteg mining moves
11:22am Monday 30th December 2013 in Pontypool news
AN ABERSYCHAN councillor has called on Glamorgan Power Company to leave the residents of the Varteg “in peace”, following the decision to refuse its appeal to opencast mine 256,000 tonnes of coal from the area.
Cllr Wayne Tomlinson said he believes locals should be “left to live without the fear and concern of opencast mining hanging over them any longer”, after Carl Sargeant, Welsh Government housing minister, brought to an end several years of uncertainty for homeowners.
He made his feelings known at the Torfaen County Borough Council (TCBC) full council Christmas meeting, calling Glamorgan Power – who had appealed following the council’s rejection of the plan at Varteg Hill – “arrogant” in its handling of the issue.
In a statement he said: “Like my other ward councillors, I am relieved that the minister turned down the appeal. For at least ten years residents living at the Varteg have been subjected to the uncertainty of living near an opencast mine, and within that Glamorgan Power has shown nothing other than arrogance to the people living there.
“Not once in all those years did they consult with residents other than showing plans that they were going to opencast mine very near to their homes, and that it was coming to them whether they liked it or not.
“Had the company at the very outset of their application embarked on a consultation path involving residents in the setting up of a liaison group then just maybe things could have been a little different.”
Cllr Tomlinson, who lives in Garndiffiath, re-iterated his stance this week.
“Hopefully people can now get on with their lives without the fear of it near their homes,” he added. “They should be left in peace.”
He also thanked Duncan Smith, chief of planning at TCBC, and his team, for being “open and transparent” with the public during and following the appeal.
Glamorgan Power can yet appeal again against the decision, through judicial review. They could also submit a fresh planning application with an amended Section 106 proposal, which would meet the minister’s recommendations with regard to restoration of the site.
The company did not respond to a request for a comment.
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