WORRIED residents and councillors fear there will be a sharp rise in the number of lorries travelling through the Cotswolds if a skip hire company is given permission to expand.

Valley Trading, based in Babdown Industrial Estate near Tetbury, has submitted a planning application to Gloucestershire County Council requesting permission to increase the scale of its business from transporting 45,000 to 75,000 tonnes per year.

If successful, the number of lorries going to and from the site along the A4135 would significantly increase, affecting nearby towns and villages.

Because the application is actually a proposed amendment to planning permission already given to Valley Trading for their existing operation, a decision on approval could be granted by a planning officer rather than councillors at GCC.

As a result, Cotswold District councillor for Grumbolds Ash with Avening ward, Richard Morgan, wants more information on the planning application and exactly how the increase in lorries would affect the surrounding area, and for detailed debate before a decision is made.

In particular, people living in Beverston, Babdown, Calcot, Kingscote and Tetbury are already used to seeing significant numbers of Valley Trading vehicles a day, and they are now worried that any increase would cause more congestion, noise and pollution.

The expansion will also have an impact on roads in surrounding areas such as Stroud, Cirencester, Nailsworth, Malmesbury and Dursley.

Cllr Morgan said: “This issue is about transparency, process and about the worries and concerns of the local residents being taken seriously.

“We need a proper, more detailed investigation to take place. For example, we don’t understand the current size and scale of Valley Trading.

“All I am asking for is that the application process be slowed down, looked at in more detail and local residents properly consulted and their feedback properly considered.”

So far, 99 comments have been received by Gloucestershire County Council regarding the application, with 95 people objecting and two people supporting the plans.

Concerns have also been raised by Calcot Manor’s owners, Avening Parish Council and Tetbury Town Council.

Richard Ball, CEO of Calcot Collection, said: “The enormous scale of the proposed expansion of the recycling plant contradicts all the policies put in place to protect the (AONB) Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

“We simply cannot continue to erode the AONB is this way and expect tourists to visit our region and support this critical aspect of the rural economy.

“Tetbury needs tourists, not HGVs, and we have to honour existing policies put in place to protect this.”

Cotswold district councillor for Tetbury and Upton ward, Richard Norris, added: “There is genuine concern over this planning application which will significantly increase HGV movements through the town.

“Concerns such as levels of air pollution, safety of pedestrians – in particular children on school runs – unacceptable noise levels, large idling HGV vehicles at junctions and on the high street causing increased congestion, deterioration of roads and Grade II listed buildings shaking on their foundations.

“The planning application cannot be granted without the correct scrutiny on actual HGV movement and the increase it will bring.”

Cllr Tony Slater, chairman of Avening Parish Council, said: “This application will impact a wide area of our road network including Avening and we have serious concerns about the inevitable increase in noise, pollution and congestion.”

In April, Tetbury Town Council’s planning committee objected to the application due to the estimated additional 100 vehicles travelling through the town.

“Tetbury already has issues with the volume of traffic and the damage this is causing to the historical fabric of the town,” a council spokesman said. “We would like to request a traffic study and to see whether there is an alternative route for these vehicles to use.”

Cllr Morgan added: “The new incinerator at Javelin Park took almost a decade of public consultations, environmental impact assessments and traffic impact assessments before it was allowed to start operating.

“We have an application almost half the size of Javelin Park being rushed through the system without any detailed scrutiny, using data from 2014 and without the knowledge of the vast majority of local residents.”

Valley Trading declined to comment.