Villagers applying for power plant jobs

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DEVELOPERS of a £300million biomass power station at Sutton Bridge say they “hope to give as many jobs as possible to local people”.

EnergyPark Sutton Bridge is seeking planning consent to build the plant on a 64-acre site at Wingland Enterprise Park and almost 80 local people have applied for jobs there.

Residents of Sutton Bridge will have their say on the controversial plant at a public meeting at The Curlew Centre at 6.30pm on Tuesday, October 16.

Sutton Bridge Parish Council has voiced concerns that the bulk of the jobs at the power station will go to specialists living outside the area and members also have fears about the number of heavy vehicles using local roads during the plant’s construction and operation.

EnergyPark spokesman Helen Rome revealed 78 job applications have been received from local people although she expects a proportion of the roles created by the development will need to be filled by specialists.

She said: “Regarding employment, we want the development to be at the heart of this community and hope to give as many jobs to local people as possible.

“EnergyPark Sutton Bridge will create 300 jobs during construction and a further 85-100 during operation, depending on shift patterns.

“Naturally, we expect a proportion of these roles will need to be filled by specialists who come from outside the local area – however, we hope that the majority of site maintenance, security, accounting and administrative roles will be filled by local people.”

Ms Rome said EnergyPark had written to all of the local people who have applied for jobs and has assured them the company will “stay in touch when the recruitment process starts”.

Kevin and Stephanie Wheeler found their dream retirement home in Chalk Lane, Sutton Bridge, just ten months ago and news that a power plant could be built just 300 yards away has come as a huge blow.

Mrs Wheeler said: “It is going to take two-and-a-half years to build and our life is going to be a nightmare while they build it.”

Coun Shirley Giles told Sutton Bridge Parish Council it would take 35,953 lorries just to build the plant and those were the developer’s figures taken from the planning application.

But Ms Rome says the plans will have less than a one per cent impact on local roads, deliveries will be planned to avoid peak hour traffic on the A17 and no vehicles will use Chalk Lane.

EnergyPark will attend the public meeting.