A BURNLEY waste centre has been labelled ‘not fit for purpose’ by a county councillor who claims it is attracting rats to nearby houses.

County Coun Margaret Brindle said the Oxford Mill Waste Transfer Station, in Oxford Road, was responsible for an ‘obnoxious’ smell in surrounding streets and was also causing traffic problems.

Representatives from the Environment Agency, which issues licences for the site, visited Burnley Wood last month with concerned residents and are continuing to monitor the mill.

The permit to carry out waste operations at the site currently belongs to Hapton Trading Ltd, which received planning permission to sort and recycle waste there from Lancashire County Council in August 1994.

County Coun Brindle, for Burnley Rural, said that although she respected the rights of the firm to do business, she believed parts of the building were ‘in a state of disrepair and possibly dangerous’.

The Liberal Democrat said: “It is wholly unacceptable that people should have to put up with this. There is a school, a children’s centre, a medical centre and a chemist within a few yards of Oxford Mill.

“Considerable regeneration has taken place in the area over the last few years with new homes being built close by. Is this the right place for a waste transfer station like the one at Oxford Mill?

“The Environment Agency, Lancashire County Council and Burnley Council should all work together to ensure that people have a clean and safe environment in which to live, and not one blighted by the activities being carried out in this old mill building.”

She added that ‘numerous’ residents had reported rats in their homes and that parents had reported their children feeling sicl when they were near the mill.

An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “We are aware of localised issues resulting from activities at the site, which have been reported to us.

“Currently we are carrying out site inspections and working with the business to ensure it operates within its environmental permit.

“Should the operator fail to adhere to the permit, or it is identified that the current permit does not fully control the activities at the site, there are a number of enforcement options which are open to us.”

No-one from Hapton Trading Ltd was available to comment.