ALL hope of stopping a waste transfer station being built on the site of the old Huncoat Power Station, with an access road through Green Belt land, vanished this week with the news that the Government will not intervene.
Bitterly-disappointed campaigners had hoped that the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, rather than Lancashire County Council, would make the final decision about whether to grant planning permission.
But despite pressure from Hyndburn MP Greg Pope the Government has decided to leave the decision-making up to the county council.
In a letter to Mr Pope, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Meg Munn, said: "It is considered that the main issues have been adequately addressed.
"Having carefully considered the relevant planning issues raised by the proposal, I am of the opinion that the application is one the local planning authority ought to decide itself."'
Mr Pope. who pointed out that Lancashire County Council was both the applicant and the planning body, said: "I am extremely disappointed because I felt we stood a real chance of making progress on this if we could get the Government to call it in. It will be a big blow to the people in Huncoat who care about the Green Belt, as I do.
"I have said all along that this is not over but I am not sure what we can do now other than go for a judicial review at the High Court."
Pressure group Huncoat Voice has battled against the proposals since they were first put forward, organising a number of events including a protest rally.
Members claimed the plant would bring more pollution to the area and they are worried that the access road will increase traffic and noise.
Reid Lewis of Huncoat Voice said: "We are extremely disappointed. We pointed out the failings in the application but the Government Office North West doesn't seem to have taken any of them on board. We have been walked all over and I am disgusted."
Mr Lewis said that a recent application to build houses in Accrington had a clause for the developers to build a play area in Huncoat but he said that no such concessions had been made in this planning application.
He added: "The impact of this plant will be much worse that the impact of houses but there is no requirement to do anything for the village.
"Nothing has been put forward to benefit the village, which is going to have to support this plant for the next 50 years."
Mr Lewis said that the future of the campaign was uncertain.
He added: "As for where we go now, as far as I know we can only go for a judicial review but this is very expensive.
"We are prepared to lie in front of the bulldozers but we don't know where to go.
"We have fought this for two years for nothing. They have not altered the application one little bit. If this was a private planning application it would never have gone through."
Huncoat councillor Brendan Shiel, who has also spoken out against the proposals, added: "From the very start it was said that it was a done deal and time has proved that to us.
"I just feel sad that the people of Huncoat's well-being is being disregarded for the cost of a new road.
"If we had plenty of money and made plenty of noise, things would have gone our way but Huncoat is a small community which was fighting on a small budget put up by residents."
Planning permission for the scheme has been granted and work could start at any time.