A CONTROVERSIAL plan to build a massive indoor recycling plant in Brierley Hill was this week shelved just hours before it was due to go before council planners.

Clean Power's second time bid to build a state-of-the-art energy conversion centre on old railway sidings off Moor Street was due to go before Dudley's development control committee tonight (Monday December 22) at 6pm.

But the proposal, which had been recommended for refusal by planning officers because of its close proximity to homes, was withdrawn at the 11th hour - at around 2pm.

Tim Lee, spokesman for the Say No tO the Waste site' campaign, said: "We're obviously pleased Clean Power have withdrawn this application.

"But we're unhappy this has been left to the last minute - and this isn't the first time this has happened.

"When the appeal was withdrawn it was only a short time before it was due to go to a public inquiry. An awful lot of people have given a lot of time which has been wasted.

"The Environment Agency notified them of their objections as long ago as October so we don't understand why it's taken a further two months for this application to be withdrawn."

Nearly 1,000 residents had written to Dudley Council objecting to the proposed anaerobic digestion centre, which they feared would create noise, odour and traffic problems - and even run the risk of exploding.

Clean Power bosses said the facility would create 30 new jobs, generate power for up to 10,000 homes and help to prevent land-filling and waste-burning - and they insisted an advanced internal airlock system would have prevented odours from escaping.

No-one from the firm was available for comment at time of going to press but a spokesman told the News last week the energy company had "worked hard to answer all of the questions asked by local residents, councillors and officers on this issue" after the original scheme put forward was rejected by Dudley planners in August 2013.

However - a report to the planning committee said the site was "not considered an appropriate location for the proposed use" and despite amendments to the original plan there were "insurmountable issues relating to residential amenity".

SNOW* spokesman Mr Lee said campaigners could now breathe a sigh of relief and he added: "The community will have a far better Christmas than if the plan had been allowed to go ahead. We're not against development but this particular site is entirely wrong.

"We think it's very unlikely, in light of the recommendation of the planning officers, that it would have been granted; and as the Environment Agency had opposed the plan we think any possible appeal wouldn't have been successful either.

"They might go away and try to produce a third scheme but it's difficult to see what further changes could be made to address all the fundamental objections."