HOMEOWNERS in Johnstown are celebrating an unexpected victory in their battle to stop Hafod Quarry being turned into a rubbish dump.
At a meeting held last week, members of Wrexham Council's planning committee rejected the advice of their own officers and turned down Mersey Waste Holdings' application to create a landfill site at the quarry.
The news was greeted with cheers and applause by local residents who packed the Guildhall to hear the decision.
After the meeting, resident Gwyneth Jones said: 'I'm extremely pleased because we've been fighting this for the last 15 months.'
However, campaigners will now face a public inquiry after Mersey Waste Holdings lodged an immediate appeal against the council's decision.
Stuart Elwin, spokesman for Mersey Waste, said the company was angry after councillors approved a similar application in February last year but were confident their appeal would be successful.
It had been expected the rubbish dump would be given the go-ahead after the National Assembly decided not to call the application in and review the case.
But councillors raised concerns about the possible health risks posed by the landfill and it was unanimously rejected.
Ruabon councillor Cyril Williams said: 'Why shouldn't the people of Rhos, Ruabon and Johnstown have a country park?
'Why should we bow to the money of big business and not to the will of the people?'
Planning permission for a landfill site to be created at Hafod Quarry was originally granted in 1995, but no tipping has ever taken place.
Currently, methane and leachate - the excess liquid produced when the rubbish is biodegraded - have to be treated off site.
Mersey Waste Holdings has applied to treat the leachate on site and discharge it down the sewer, and for a waste-to-energy gas generator to be built.
However, the move sparked a wave of fury from residents, who areconcerned thelandfillwillproduce harmful dioxins. There are also fears the leachate will pollute the waste and block drainage systems.
The public inquiry is due to be held in July.