A PUBLIC inquiry into a controversial planning application for Crumlin's Navigation Colliery is due to be held at the end of the year.

A hearing was held at the civic centre in Ponllanfraith yesterday but was adjourned. It will now be held in Crumlin Rugby Club where more residents will be able to attend.

People living in Crumlin have fought against the application for an aggregates store on the colliery site since it was submitted to Caerphilly council by Lafarge Aggregates last year.

The council turned down the application - but just days before the six-month appeal period expired, the firm lodged an appeal with the planning inspectorate at the Welsh Assembly.

Angela Millard, subpost mistress and secretary of Crumlin Action Group (CAG), said: "The fact they waited until the last few weeks of the summer holidays was just immoral, they thought they were going to catch us with our guards down but they were wrong. The inspectorate made a wise decision today, it will enable him to make a fair decision for the residents of Crumlin."

If the plans were to go ahead then the village would see 400 tonnes of stone delivered daily to the site by road, from the Hafod Fach Quarry and sent away by train. Residents have voiced their protest and stress that if the company were to set up the village would receive no benefit.

The decision to hold the inquiry was welcomed yesterday by Islwyn MP Don Touhig, who has been supporting residents.

"This decision reflects the strength of the local feeling. I am committed to supporting the residents and have written to the planning authorities to voice our concerns," he said.

Islwyn AM Irene James said: "Don and I are united with local residents against Lafarge's plans. An inquiry will give the community the chance to make its voice heard."

Brian Hancock, chairman of the CAG and former AM for Islwyn, said: "There are no benefits of this scheme at all."