Darsham: Sizewell C park-and-ride proposal ‘a travesty,’ says homeowner

Leonora Van Gils runs Moat Hall spiritual healing centre in Darsham. It offers respite care in a cou

Leonora Van Gils runs Moat Hall spiritual healing centre in Darsham. It offers respite care in a countryside setting but is located next to the preferred site for the north park and ride site for the proposed Sizewell C. - Credit: Archant

An interfaith minister has been left “devastated” by news that her Suffolk home and healing centre could overlook a suggested park-and-ride site to serve the proposed Sizewell C nuclear power plant.

Leonora Van Gils

Leonora Van Gils - Credit: Archant

Reverend Leonora Van Gils, also an allergy specialist, was informed that EDF Energy had earmarked the land behind Moat Hall – adjacent to the railway station in Darsham – as the “lead site” for a 1,000-space car park for workers living to the north of Sizewell.

The 65-year-old, who has hired three solicitors to fight her corner, said: “I have built my life here over the last eight years. I work for the benefit of other people and it would be a complete travesty to spoil that.

“I’ve been a prisoner of a decision all this time. My whole life has been on hold. This is a special place but there’s no way it can continue with cars and lorries surrounding it.”

Rev Van Gils decided to put Moat Hall up for sale six months ago to test the market, but has since received just two viewings. She says recent distress has forced her into semi-retirement.

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She said: “It’s not an option for me to stay if this goes ahead – but at the same time, I’m unable to sell. If it has to happen, I must be compensated.”

Rev Van Gils, who was ordained in London in 2005 and ministers to people of all faiths and none, carries out spiritual healing, wedding services, funerals and baby naming blessings at Moat Hall, which she says is classified as a “miracle house” due to the recent appearance of Vibhuti – a sacred ash used in religious worship in Hinduism and produced by Indian guru Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

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Rev Van Gils is today due to meet with EDF Energy, which said proposals were still at an early stage.

A spokeswoman said further assessment was required but that the Darsham site would limit traffic on the B1122 and Yoxford, and that an A12/A144 park-and-ride was now a reserve option.

She said local residents and businesses had been contacted ahead of the information being shared with the community forum last week, and that the firm intended to hold further focussed consultation around lead sites early next year.

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