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Wetheringsett-cum-Brockford: Campaigners react after biomass burner company says it is ‘confident’ over possible planning appeal

PUBLISHED: 07:00 20 July 2013

Dr Andrew Toft, director of projects at Eco2 Ltd, at the site the company is looking to develop

Dr Andrew Toft, director of projects at Eco2 Ltd, at the site the company is looking to develop

Archant

Campaigners against a £100million biomass burner have hit out after the company behind the proposals said it was “confident” of winning a planning appeal.

Councillors at Mid Suffolk District Council went against their officers’ recommendation and rejected the plans for the proposed site in Wetheringsett-cum-Brockford in a meeting on Wednesday. But the company pushing for the development – Eco2 Ltd – has said the council was ‘turning its back’ on a huge investment in the local economy.

Andrew Toft, director of projects for the company, said: “We are of course disappointed by the planning committee members’ decision to overturn their own officers’ advice. The reasons for refusal cannot be sustained at appeal and we will have to consider that route, regretting of course the significant additional cost to the council’s taxpayers.

“This decision raises issues beyond the planning process. If the councillors of Mid Suffolk wish to turn their backs on massive inward investment, jobs, revenue and the opportunity to diversify the region’s economy then one has to consider whether the district is really open for business.”

Councillors voted the proposals down for a variety of reasons including concerns the burner could take valuable straw resources away from traditional farming businesses.

Dr Toft rejected this argument insisting the plant could not be built if it would interfere with existing businesses.

A host of major Suffolk farming and food businesses have been vocal in their opposition to the plans.

Henry Chevallier Guild, a partner of Aspall Cyder, said: “I believe an appeal would be a complete and utter waste of time, effort and money. The council has turned it down and there are reasons for the refusal.”

Martin Lawrence, chair of Wetheringsett-cum-Brockford Parish Council, said: “We think that the issues that we are most worried about have not been properly addressed. With these issues I cannot see it going any further than it has already gone.”

A spokeswoman for Mid Suffolk said the council would “robustly defend” its decision and back its members if Eco2 did appeal.

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