Anger over councillor’s ‘Luddite’ note on petition

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A COUNCILLOR has sparked an angry response after he branded petitioners ‘Luddite’.

Peter Cooper, a member of Feltwell Parish Council since 2005, upset campaigners when he scrawled the word on a petition against plans for a new bio-fuel energy plant on council-owned land.

But Cllr Cooper stood by the comment, despite calls for his resignation at a council meeting last Monday.

He said: “I thought they were Luddites so that’s what I wrote.”

The councillor said villagers did not know enough about the proposals to install an electric substation powered by refined cooking oil in Old Brandon Lane to make an informed judgement. Villagers’ concerns that the plant would smell were also misplaced, according to Cllr Cooper.

“Not one of them heard the chap who spoke about the plant with us and we have had two years of renting them land without any problem.

“We’ve been told there will be no smell and that only one lorry a week will be going down that lane,” he said.

He added that the energy plant would bring in £20,000 a year to the village through rent.

Vanessa Cock, a resident who was behind the 650-signature petition, said there was a lot of anger at last week’s meeting.

“Two or three people shouted for him to resign and I think it will come up again.

“We think the whole thing has been handled wrongly by the parish council – they didn’t hold a public meeting on this before backing it and they can’t see why they should have.

“As far as we are concerned they have seen the pound signs but it’s not all about money, there are people living next to that land who will be affected,” she said.

The parish council has brought forward its annual parish meeing to March 9 so the matter can be discussed with the public.

Plans for the plant were entered in October but has since been withdrawn by the applicants, REG Bio Power.