The long wait ... delays over Sizewell C ‘blighting’ area

A computer-generated image of how the Sizewell complex will look after construction of Sizewell C.

A computer-generated image of how the Sizewell complex will look after construction of Sizewell C. - Credit: Archant

Communities in east Suffolk have been “left in limbo” for years because of the delays and uncertainty over whether Sizewell C will be built.

Homeowners claim their properties have been blighted by unresolved traffic routes, businesses cannot plan for the future, and residents are worried about a huge influx of construction workers for the £14billion nuclear power plant and where they will live.

The desire for a third power station was first mooted during the Sizewell B inquiry in the early 1980s, and the prospect was finally revived by EDF Energy leading to the launch of the first stage of consultation in 2012.

Industry commentators though say that even if the twin reactor Hinkley Point C is built, a final decision on whether Sizewell C goes ahead might not be made until some years into the Somerset station’s construction – leading to yet more uncertainty.

Leiston-cum-Sizewell Town Council chairman David Bailey said: “We are just in limbo. There has been a lot of anticipation and while there are a small amount of people in the area who are not for it, which is understandable, generally most people are in favour.

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“We certainly expected the second stage of the consultation to have taken place by now but there is little we can do as a community except wait.”

He said businesses had met with county and district officials but could not properly plan for their futures until more definite details about the power station were forthcoming.

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Roy Dowding, chairman of the B1122 Action Group, said people living along the B1122 – possibly the main route for construction traffic between the A12 and Sizewell – and in and around Yoxford were having a tough time selling houses because of the blight.

He said unknowns over transport issues – whether a new link road would be built or short bypasses around villages, and the arguments over the Four Villages Bypass – had left a black cloud over east Suffolk.

Mr Dowding said: “Depending which options are chosen if this power station is ever built, tourism could be very seriously affected – the whole pattern of how people will travel, with the ability to stay on the road and travel further quicker will mean they are not stopping at B&Bs, pubs, restaurants and so on.”

Town councillor Colin Ginger said it was difficult for the town to move forward on Sizewell C with so many unresolved matters.

He said: “We are sitting on the edge waiting for it to happen and yet we don’t know if it will.

“We know EDF want it to happen, but they won’t give us the full information and we cannot tell what impact it will have.

“When Sizewell B was built, there was a huge impact. With that many extra workers coming into a small town it was very disruptive.

“We need to be given the full information so that we can give a proper view on what should happen and start to plan. Will it be built? I think it comes down to money because it’s hugely expensive, and the political will.”

EDF has said that once the final investment decision for Hinkley is announced, it will launch the stage two consultation for Sizewell C, answering more questions about some of the key issues.

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