CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating after winning a fight against controversial plans for a £135 million energy plant in Keighley.
The huge scheme, which would have seen two waste recycling plants built on the derelict former gasworks site at Marley, was unanimously refused by a planning committee today.
One committee member, Councillor Doreen Lee (Lab, Keighley East), called the proposed design "horrible, horrible, horrible".
Residents who had led a major campaign against the development said they were ecstatic at the decision.
The scheme, by the Halton Group, would have seen a waste plastics melting plant and an energy-from-waste power plant built at the site, at Airedale Road alongside the Aire Valley trunk road.
Planning permission had already been secured last year for a similar, smaller-scale plant.
But the Regulatory and Appeals Committee meeting, at City Hall, Bradford, heard the company which wanted to run the plant needed a bigger building to house the equipment it wanted to use, and so a new application had been sent in.
One resident, Sarah Nash-Myers, told the planning committee it would be making "a monumental mistake" if it granted planning permission.
She said the building would be the height of eight double-decker buses and would seriously harm the quality of life of people living in nearby homes, garnering applause from the packed public gallery.
Ward Councillor Malcolm Slater (Lab, Keighley East) also gave an impassioned speech calling for the committee to refuse permission.
He said people feared their health would be affected by the burning of waste at the site.
He added: "There is a lot of concern that if there is a malfunction or breakdown in the abatement and filtering equipment, the plant would still be allowed to operate for 72 hours.
"In other words, three days of pumping out completely unfiltered and toxic emissions into high-density residential areas."
Agent John Steel, of JO Steel Consulting, told the committee that the building would not overshadow neighbouring properties, and added that the diameter of the 60m chimney stack had been slimmed down, compared with the previous design already approved.
He said bodies including the Environment Agency, the Health and Safety Executive, Public Health England and the fire service had raised no objection to the scheme.
And he said the plant would generate the equivalent of 90 per cent of Keighley's energy requirements, and that it would bring "an injection of capital investment into Keighley the like of which, to my knowledge, has not been exceeded in recent years".
Councillors took a break to visit the site before unanimously refusing the plan, on the grounds of its size and the proposed materials to be used.
Cllr Lee said: "I think this building is too high and I certainly don't like the use of that material that looks like it is rust.
"It is going to spoil the entire valley. It's horrible, horrible, horrible, that material, and I think the height is far too big."
Cllr Gerry Barker (Con, Wharfedale) agreed the proposed 35m building was too high, saying: "If it were to be lowered into the ground, I would be minded to approve, but at it's current height, no."
Speaking afterwards, objector Paul Anderson, from Riddlesden, said he was ecstatic.
He said: "It's just the wrong place for it."
The applicants declined to comment.