Plans for a new salt barn at a Northumberland County Council depot in Blyth have been given the green light.
This barn to protect grit is to replace an existing, open, salt-storage bay at the council’s Cowley Road depot in the Riverside Business Park.
The new, dome-shaped building, with a diameter of 27.6metres and a total height of 13.7metres, would be on grassland to the north of the existing depot, which has been bought by the county council.
The scheme, which had sparked no objections, was approved by the Ashington and Blyth Local Area Council last Wednesday.
The planning officer’s report said: ‘Though the application site has a curved, dome-shaped roof and would be taller than existing buildings, it does retain an industrial character and is set back in the site from Cowley Road, with restricted views from the public realm.’
Permission was granted in September 2016 for a salt barn within the existing depot yard, but a new application was required when it was decided to site the building on land outside the current boundary.
It follows councillors approving investment of almost £1million to protect stocks of salt for gritting the roads in July, including £365,571 for the new barn in Blyth.
Overall, £3.2million has been earmarked – including £900,000 this year and £900,000 in 2019-20 – to provide covered storage facilities for rock salt.
Currently, around 24,000 tonnes is stored uncovered across a number of depots in Northumberland.
A report explained that up to 12 per cent of the uncovered stock dissolves and washes away during the winter, wasting salt material which costs up to £34.50 per tonne.
Over and above the financial cost, the salt can pollute local groundwater and watercourses, which could result in action by the Environment Agency.
Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service