Views expressed waste hub at Hollow Road Farm, Bury St Edmunds, is a ‘done deal’
- Credit: Gregg Brown
Concerns have been expressed that plans for a waste hub on the outskirts of Bury St Edmunds is a “done deal” as money has already been paid towards the land.
Many villagers in Great Barton, Fornham St Martin and Fornham St Genevieve are opposed to the joint waste facility and council depot being located at Hollow Road Farm, off Compiegne Way.
A wide range of concerns have been expressed, including over the levels of traffic going to and from the site, noise and its proximity to homes.
The plans have been drawn up by St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath councils, along with Suffolk County Council, and include a new vehicle depot, waste transfer station and public household waste recycling centre.
The EADT understands £25,000 has already been paid to the landowner towards the site, with another £25,000 due to be paid some weeks later.
During a debate about the project, dubbed the West Suffolk Operational Hub, on the Streetlife website, one person said: “To me this is a signal that the decision had already been made and it [the consultation being extended] was merely a case of due process.”
Great Barton resident Mike Winsor said he felt the public consultation was a “bit of a charade”.
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But a spokeswoman for St Edmundsbury Borough Council explained the “option agreement” on the land was not a deposit and the landowner keeps the money, which is deducted from the price, if the project goes ahead.
She said the project is using standard commercial practice in order to offer certainty the location would be available and to protect the purchaser - the tax payer - from a potential price hike at a later stage.
She said: “The potential existed in these circumstances for any potential purchase to become a ‘hostage to fortune’ as clearly more could be demanded for the land once it was clear that any scheme could not progress without it.
“It is usual commercial practice in these circumstances, in order to prevent this becoming a possibility, that an option is secured which locks in the future price of the land, for a defined period of time, if certain future events occur, ie planning permission being granted.”
Vice chairman of Great Barton Parish Council Ed Gibson, speaking in a personal capacity, said it seemed “ludicrous” there was no provision for the waste hub at Hollow Road Farm in the borough’s local plan.
St Edmundsbury, Forest Heath and the county council say the facility, which will receive waste from across west Suffolk, will lead to cost savings by sharing buildings, machinery and operating costs.
The pre-planning consultation will now close on April 20. To comment visit www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/wsoh