Residents steaming as plan for power station is unopposed

Sutton Bridge power station on the banks of the river Nene at Sutton Bridge. ENGANL00120130422101630
Sutton Bridge power station on the banks of the river Nene at Sutton Bridge. ENGANL00120130422101630
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“Councillors need to wise up and realise we are not having things dumped here.”

This is the view of Sutton Bridge resident Jenny Rowe after plans for a new power station in the town were unopposed by South Holland District Council.

Councillors at Wednesday’s planning meeting had been advised to raise no objection to a second combined cycle gas turbine, Sutton Bridge B, that would create up to 1800MW of electricity to be fed into the National Grid.

Built next to the existing power station by EDF energy, there would be three turbine halls 40m high and three stacks 80m high.

Chairman Coun Roger Gambba-Jones told them they should consider the “worse case scenario of it being bigger and uglier” than the one it would be built next to.

But it took a one-and-a-half-hour debate before 11 councillors waving their new pink voting cards said “yes”, subject to concerns being written into a list of conditions.

Applicant Carly Vince, in her three-minute address, said EDF had worked hard to make sure the power station would have no adverse impact on the local community and environment, including ensuring there would be no flood risk, landscaping in place to minimise visual impact, control of air quality, a construction management plan and a liaison group to engage with the local community during construction.

In spite of reassurances what the final design was would be a matter for planning in the future, residents say they are upset but not surprised by the outcome.

Jenny Rowe, a parish councillor, said she was appalled the council did not call for a public inquiry into the plan.

She said: “The council totally ignored the public. Councillors didn’t even know what they were voting for when it came to whether the plant would be water or air cooled.

“It’s on a greenfield site. There’s a case here for a judicial review.”

Shirley Giles, another parish councillor who in March won her legal fight to overturn planning consent for a £165million gasifier at Sutton Bridge, plans to write to the Secretary of State to call the plan in for a public inquiry.

She said: “The plan has been around for eight years and has gone from creating 1200MW of electricity to 1800MW. It’s going to be huge, but would only be five per cent more efficient.

“All we can do is ask for it to be called in for a public inquiry and maybe organise a petition.”

District councillor Chris Brewis, who was one of three councillors who voted against the plan, has pledged to support them. He said: “To say there would be no visual impact is crackers. There are still issues to be addressed.”