Campaigners show strength of feeling against Hollow Road Farm waste site plans
- Credit: Gregg Brown
Campaigners are “furious” a council has not yet rejected a controversial site in Bury St Edmunds as the proposed location for a combined waste facility, recycling centre and vehicle depot.
Opponents to the plans for Hollow Road Farm, off Compiegne Way, turned out in force to St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s cabinet meeting tonight to portray the strength of feeling on the issue.
Resident Sarah Bartram presented petitions totalling 844 signatures against the proposal to cabinet member for operations Peter Stevens and received a standing ovation from members of the public after strongly outlining the reasons for the objections.
She said the site’s proximity to residential homes and the traffic implications on the road network were key reasons why it was unsuitable, and called on St Edmundsbury to reject the site.
The cabinet decided to follow the recommendation for further pre-planning application consultation to be carried out, which will focus on why Hollow Road Farm was chosen as the preferred site for the scheme.
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After the meeting, Mrs Bartram, who lives behind Barton Hill, said she was “furious,” adding right from the beginning residents had wanted alternative sites to be part of any consultation.
“It’s very clear from the wording of the cabinet paper they have just presented in there and voted on it’s very clear they are only going to be consulting on a single site and using the consultation period to prove to us why they have gone with a single site.”
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During the meeting, Mrs Bartram presented the objections on behalf of residents, speaking of the “overwhelming negative environmental impact” the development at Hollow Road Farm would have on their villages and daily lives, and adding: “We appeal do not waste any more time or our money proposing this site.”
Dubbed the ‘West Suffolk Operational Hub’, the project is a partnership involving St Edmundsbury Borough Council, Forest Heath District Council and Suffolk County Council.
The site would include a waste transfer facility, where waste collected from across west Suffolk would be bulked together and put into larger lorries and taken to Great Blakenham for disposal.
There would also be a household waste recycling centre, replacing the one on Rougham Hill in Bury, and a vehicle depot containing refuse collection vehicles and other council vehicles and workshops, replacing the one at Western Way.
John Griffiths, leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said officers had spent years looking at possible sites and Hollow Road Farm was by far the most preferred option.
But he told Mrs Bartram: “I think what you raise shows further work is needed to be done.”
Mr Stevens tried to dispel what he described as “wrong assumptions” about how the site would operate, adding waste would be transferred in a building with regulated air pressure and it would not be visible from the outside.
Councillor Sarah Broughton, borough councillor for Great Barton, said the council needed to “think again” and pick a site on industrial land that was not close to residential properties.
Councillor Beccy Hopfensperger, borough councillor for Fornham, said in 2001 the same site had been considered for waste transfer use, but this was rejected by the borough’s planning committee.
After the meeting she said: “I will definitely be making sure it’s genuine consultation on alternative sites.”