Leiston is bracing itself for an influx of up to 8,000 workers daily and 3,000 people added to its population once the construction of Sizewell C is in full swing.

Community leaders say the next decade will be a "challenging period" as the twin reactors take shape.

The influx of construction workers will roughly double the size of the town's working-age population, and those living on campus just outside the town are expected to shop and socialise locally.

Following the decision to grant a Development Consent Order for the Sizewell C nuclear power station by the secretary of state for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, chairman of Leiston-cum-Sizewell Town Council, John Last BEM spoke of the impact on the local community.

East Anglian Daily Times: Leiston Town Council chairman John Last. Picture: JOHN LASTLeiston Town Council chairman John Last. Picture: JOHN LAST (Image: JOHN LAST)

He said: "Today's decision will prompt a mixed reaction within our community. There is undoubtedly disappointment for some, who have campaigned long and hard against this project. For others, it will be seen as offering opportunities for the local economy, education and employment.

"Leiston-cum-Sizewell Town Council now remains totally focused on achieving the best outcome for this community with the least disruption and impact on quality of life. As the parish hosting the new nuclear plant, we need to be ready to adequately represent our town through this challenging period in Leiston's history. And we need our residents to be assured that we will do our very best."

The town council has acknowledged the potential economic and educational benefits created by the site over the 12-year construction period.

However, it has also expressed its concerns over the challenges facing the town during this time, including the dangers posed to its Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

While the levels of light and pollution emitted by Sizewell B are currently low, councillors say there is "no doubt" that noise will increase and air quality will worsen while the new plant is being built and the construction site slowly recovers.

Mr Last added: "The council's relationship with the developer to date has been a good one and we will continue the dialogue throughout. Once construction begins, this relationship needs to strengthen even more, as there will no doubt be challenges to overcome.

"Therefore, we must work with the district and county council and strengthen the relationship further with the developer to ensure we overcome these challenges."