CHESHIRE planners have sparked anger among residents who believe they were stopped from objecting to a landfill site.
As reported in the Chronicle early last month, Secretary of State Ruth Kelly called in the controversial Kinderton Lodge landfill proposals, inviting interested parties to give their views.
The planning inspectorate set a six week deadline for all representations. But Middlewich residents claim Cheshire County Council gave them only half that time.
Joan Edwards of Lindisfarne Close told the Chronicle: 'The case date opened on June 2, which would have given people six weeks to make their feelings known to the inspectorate.
'The County Council's letter explaining how to go about this didn't arrive until June 30, two weeks before the deadline.
'Why did it take them so long to let us know? I got my objections in just in time but it should never have been such a close call.'
Hutchins Close resident Alan Langley sent the Chronicle a copy of the letter.
Dated June 23, the letter said: 'If you have any comments or representations about this case you should send them to the case officer within six weeks of the case start date (02/06/2006).'
A Cheshire County Council spokesperson said: 'The second stage of consultation following Kinderton Lodge being 'called in' is designed to allow any additional comments to be lodged.
'All comments raised by residents from the first stage will be taken into account by the Inspector. Three thousand letters had to be printed and sent out throughout the area and due to the sheer volume of this task there was a delay.
'However, any letters received shortly after the consultation ends will still be taken into consideration.'
A planning inspectorate representative said: 'If people have presented complaints to Cheshire, we would expect those to be sent to us by the county council.
'But anyone who has presented them elsewhere, including to the Government Office which cannot forward any correspondence that was submitted to them before the case was called in, should have sent their comments direct to us.'