SUTTON BRIDGE GASIFIER: Couple blast council for giving go-ahead

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A couple’s dream of a quiet retirement in the countryside lay in tatters as the planning committee approved EnergyPark’s application by a vote of 8-2.

Stephanie Wheeler and her husband, Kevin, live in Chalk Lane, 300 yards from the EnergyPark site and weren’t told about the biomass plant when they moved in at the end of 2011 despite the council inviting the company to the village at least two years before that.

Mrs Wheeler yelled: “You have just made our home completely worthless – thank you very much.”

And Mr Wheeler told councillors: “We will have you out, we will get you out, don’t worry.

“We have not finished yet. We will go further. We will see you at an inquiry.”

Outbursts were led by a villager who accused the committee of ruining Sutton Bridge.

As committee chairman Roger Gambba-Jones tried to hush protests, the man told him: “We are entitled to speak in a democracy and not be dictated to by little people like you.”

Parish councillor Jenny Rowe and Bridge Against The Incinerator (BATI) chairman Craig Jackson told the committee it hadn’t been given all of the information it needed.

Mrs Rowe said: “We do not object to development on Wingland but will not agree to something that will ruin residents’ quality of life.

“Twenty quid off an electric bill does not compensate for devaluation in property.

“How can councillors be expected to make a decision when all the information is not before them and freely admit they do not understand the non-technical information?

“We appreciate this is the first time you have had an incinerator/gasifier application before you and this application in our opinion is complex and incomplete – there are still many outstanding issues.”

Mr Jackson called for the “full content” of representations made by Natural England – the Government’s own experts – to be given to the committee.

He said a former South Holland councillor and former chairman of The Wash Estuary Strategy Group, Paul Espin, had talked directly to the council planning department about The Wash Biodiversity Action Plan and the need for EnergyPark to submit a “compliant survey”.

He asked: “Has the applicant carried out the survey?”

Mr Jackson continued: “It is the view of many that if the application is approved this evening, that decision should be subject to full investigation by the local government Ombudsman and challenged through judicial review.”

l Paul Espin revealed on Friday that he is considering making his own formal 
complaint to the council, which may go the Ombudsman if it cannot be settled by the council’s disputes procedure.