Friday, 17 May 2013 13:00

SUTTON BRIDGE: Residents’ fury as biomass power plan is approved

Angry residents are considering their next move after district councillors gave the go-ahead for a controversial ‘green’ power station on the edge of Sutton Bridge.

Villagers have been invited to attend an extraordinary meeting of the parish council at the Royal British Legion Hall tonight at 7pm, which will consider what to do next after the biomass plant scheme for the site at Wingland was approved by the South Holland District Council planning committee.

Members voted to grant planning permission, subject to the completion of legal agreements, by eight to two in a meeting on Wednesday night, sparking fury among objectors as the decision was made.

Stephanie Wheeler and her husband, Kevin, who live in Chalk Lane, 300 yards from the EnergyPark site, claim they weren’t told about the biomass plant when they moved in at the end of 2011 despite the council inviting the company to the village at least two years before that.

Mrs Wheeler yelled: “You have just made our home completely worthless – thank you very much.”

Outbursts were led by a villager who accused the committee of ruining Sutton Bridge.

As committee chairman Roger Gambba-Jones tried to hush protests, the man told him: “We are entitled to speak in a democracy and not be dictated to by little people like you.”

The application had been deferred at the April planning meeting for more information to be submitted about a proposal for a discounted energy supply for residents.

The proposed 10 per cent price cut also sparked controversy because EnergyPark Sutton Bridge is offering it to 1,500 homes and businesses and Bridge Against The Incinerator (BATI) chairman Craig Jackson told planners there are 2,044 homes and 140 VAT registered businesses in the Sutton Bridge ward.

He said: “It is completely unacceptable that no public consultation on the scheme has taken place with any of our elected representatives regarding its scope, funding or delivery.”

Parish councillor Jenny Rowe added: “We do not object to development on Wingland but will not agree to something that will ruin residents’ quality of life. Twenty quid off an electric bill does not compensate for devaluation in property.”

“How can councillors be expected to make a decision when all the information is not before them and they freely admit they do not understand the non- technical information?”

Critics say the whole application should be re-examined amid their claims vital information has been withheld and questioned whether the applicants had carried out proper surveying of the scheme.

Mr Jackson said: “It is the view of many that if the application is approved this evening, that decision should be subject to full investigation by the local government Ombudsman and challenged through judicial review.”

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