Great Blakenham: Concern grows over plans for two huge greenhouses powered by incinerator

Fears over creation of two huge greenhouses

Fears over creation of two huge greenhouses - Credit: Archant

PEOPLE living near the proposed site of two huge greenhouses powered by heat from the incinerator at Great Blakenham are calling for major changes to the proposal.

Sterling Suffolk wants to build two greenhouses over 50 acres on a site beside the B1113 – however the proposal has alarmed people who live on the road.

They fear the entrance to the site could be dangerous, that the development will damage a quiet area of countryside, and that the jobs will not be as high-quality as the promoters of the scheme claim.

People living near the B1113 held a meeting with greenhouse promoter Lord Michael Blakenham and Cliff Matthews, project manager for SITA of the energy for waste plant that is currently being built.

Melvin Gregory, who lives on the B1113, said the access to the proposed site was a major concern: “This road is already very dangerous and if you have all that extra traffic it will be even more so.”

There were concerns about the amount of light pollution that would come from the greenhouses – the proposal was for the tomatoes to be grown 10 months of the year.

And he questioned suggestions that workers employed at the plant could earn up to £30,000 a year.

Most Read

“We suspect that it is more likely we will end up with people being employed on minimum wage and that will do nothing for the local economy,” Mr Gregory added.

People living on the road were also concerned that on the plans that had so far been published, the main service area for the greenhouses was directly opposite their homes.

Lord Blakenham told the meeting that the plans that were being discussed were currently early drafts and an application would be submitted to Mid Suffolk council in the summer.

“We are listening to what you are saying about this and would like to take into account your concerns before the detailed proposals are firmed up,” he said.

There would have to be negotiations with highway authorities about access to the B1113 from the site.

The company running the business would also employ the staff – it would not take casual staff from agencies and Lord Blakenham said it should be possible for some of the permanent “crop workers” responsible for rows of tomatoes to earn up to £30,000 a year.

Mr Matthews said there were no plans to use artificial light throughout the greenhouses – it would be too expensive and production was only expected to take place during the day. The greenhouses would use heat from his plant that would otherwise be wasted, he added.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter