AN incinerator near Hanley Swan that has just been given permission to reopen after years of disuse should not be brought back into operation, say residents.

An application by developer Peter Styles to bring the waste-burning unit back into use was approved at appeal by a planning inspector, after being turned down by Worcestershire County Council.

This week, a county council spokesman said: "The county council refused this application for lawful use, and we're disappointed to note that the inspector has decided to allow it on appeal.

"Should waste use come back into being on this site, it would need to meet modern emissions standards through a permit authorised by the Environment Agency. Furthermore the county council would expect the operator to discuss his intentions with the local community, elected councillors and the relevant authorities in due course."

The council's disappointment is shared by local people, according to to Sue Adeney of Hanley Castle Parish Council.

She said: "People are very apprehensive about what will happen now. Whatever local people want to happen to this site, returning to its old use is not it.

"The developer has had various schemes to build housing in the site turned down, and I think that most people would like it to be used for some kind of industrial storage use."

Hanley Castle Parish Council was due to meet last night (Thursday) and Cllr Adeney said it was highly likely that the issue would be raised.

Andrew Boughton of B B Architecture and Planning, who represents Mr Styles, said this week: "The inspector's decision makes it clear we could reopen the incinerator. We would have to get permission from the Environment Agency, but that isn't a discretionary permission; it has has to be issued if the equipment conforms to the relevant standards.

"Mr Styles is in conversation with a couple of parties who are interested as reopening as some sort of incinerator. The conversation has changed since the county council shut it down in 1995, with ideas like energy from waste becoming more prominent."