PROPOSALS to sort 20,000 tonnes of waste a year at a facility in the New Forest have been thrown out, despite initially being recommended for approval.

New Forest National Park Authority refused an application to turn Solent Skip Hire into a site where waste would be sorted before recyclable materials were transferred away.

The authority had originally recommended that the plans be given the green light on the basis that they would not have a significantly harmful impact, but members refused.

Netley Marsh Parish Council had criticised the proposal and Cllr Sue Gordon gave an impassioned speech against the planned facility, referring to a similar scheme that failed to gain permission in 2007.

She said: “The council was opposed to the idea which was proposed in 2007 when it was found that it would be a detriment to the national park.

“The question has to be asked as to why it is back before us now because nothing has changed.

“Twenty thousand tonnes of waste a year will be imported into the area.”

Part of the site at Upper Hangar Farm, Totton, is currently used as a skip hire business, where empty skips are stored on site and then transferred via lorry to customers.

It lies immediately west of the A326 and Totton itself, and the nearest residential building is about 200 metres away.

The new project would have involved waste being brought on to the site and loaded into containers at the site.

This would then have been sorted with a loading shovel, with materials including metal, cardboard and wood being taken for recycling.

Authority members raised concerns regarding whether the proposed scheme would bring pollution into the area and whether traffic would increase.

And member Maureen Holding, who voted in favour of the plans, said: “We’ve got to use common sense, and the site is already there.

“It wouldn’t increase waste because it would not increase lorry movements.

“It’s going to give four more people jobs and jobs are at a premium, and it’s all a very fine balance.”

Members voted seven to five against the proposals.