A recycling firm is locked in a battle with the county council's planning department after turning countryside into a storage area.

Lockhams Recycling Ltd has been using the site behind Shedfield Equestrian Centre in Shedfield - between Fareham and Bishop's Waltham - to store processed recycled materials and as an office and workshop since November 2020.

It applied for retrospective planning permission for this - but it was refused by Hampshire County Council in January 2023.

Daily Echo: Lockhams Recycling Ltd. location. Source: Pro Vision planning documents on behalf of Lockhams Recycling Ltd. Just some of the reasons included a “lack of justification for a countryside location”, “unacceptable visual impact” and “lack of information to demonstrate that the site can be drained safely and would not create flood risk elsewhere”.

Now, three months later, the company has presented a revised planning application and asked for it to be approved 'without delay'.

It said that its location was within the county council's own guidelines for waste developments on greenfield land, as it was in a 'well-screened location away from residential areas' and required a 'more isolated location'.

It claimed it was also far enough away from wildlife - two kilometres away from the nearest sites of special scientific interest, three kilometres from the Solent and Southampton Water, and 150 metres from the nearest sites of importance in nature conservation.

To handle flooding concerns, the company prepared a drainage strategy developed by Aquacallidus, defining the site as at “very low risk” from river or sea flooding and groundwater flooding labelled 'unlikely'.

The site is near various other establishments, including a vehicle repair and MOT test centre, a dog training facility, a marine sales company, and a ground-mounted solar farm.

Lockhams Recycling Ltd already has permission to recycle inert materials and builders’ waste on the land west of the contentious area.

The firm can process 46,000m³ of imported materials annually, equivalent to 69,000 metric tonnes.

According to the firm, the site has been operational as an “unauthorised development storing processed recycled materials” and for an office and a workshop without any planning approvals since November 2020.

The public consultation will end on May 11.