A Blackrod recycling centre is allowed to run around the clock after its application was approved by Bolton Council.

J Dickinson and Sons asked the council to change conditions on its planning permission from more than 20 years ago.

Currently the recycling centre on Station Road is allowed to operate machinery between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday and for limited hours on Saturdays. It asked to operate machinery 24 hours a day Monday to Friday and for longer hours on Saturdays, as well as to open for maintenance on Sundays.

James Dickinson, its managing director, appealed to the Planning Committee for the application to be approved when it met at the town hall last week.

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Mr Dickinson said: "We've invested in the plant at a cost of £4 million. It's an all-electric plant replacing an all-diesel plant and this is so much cleaner. 

"It'll help us to recover more material although it takes a lot of time to recover more material which is why we're asking to extend our working hours."

The idea split opinion among residents in the area, 12 of whom wrote letters for the proposal, and 22 of whom wrote letters against the proposal. The issues ranged from an increase in noise pollution at the site to an increase in traffic on the roads around the recycling centre.

A report for consideration by the Planning Committee recommended approval on the basis a change from diesel-powered machinery to electric-powered machinery limits noise pollution, and there is no increase on traffic on the roads, as the restrictions on the vehicles making collections and deliveries are to remain.

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Mr Dickinson said: "We're blamed for issues at [Blackrod Sewage Treatment Works] as it is not as visible as we are. The traffic in the area is sometimes a cause of complaint for residents but the area is an ideal spot next to arterial road routes.

"We're blamed for any and all issues in the community but they're beyond our influence. We're trying to stay competitive in an ever-changing market."

After consideration the 24-hour operation was approved unanimously.

It is understood 24-hour operation is to result in an additional 20 jobs.

Cllr David Grant said: "Sometimes these businesses are damned if they do and damned if they don't. 

"Dickinson invested a significant amount of money into the site to make it all but silent and it is positive for the residents in spite of the objections."

Cllr Andy Morgan said: "I agree with Cllr Grant. Residents don't like change but when it is implemented they'll see there's nothing to worry about. 

"I'm sure if there was an issue it would be addressed through enforcement and I'm sure Mr Dickinson and the company would work with them."

This article was written by Jack Tooth. To contact him, email jack.tooth@newsquest.co.uk or follow @JTRTooth on Twitter.