Residents and councillors who fought against controversial plans to build a waste transfer station in Bury St Edmunds say they are ‘finally being listened to’ after council bosses raised the possibility of a u-turn over the location of the site.
Following dismay over Suffolk County Council’s decision to build the station at Rougham Hill Household Waste Recycling Centre, the authority says it will consider an alternative site.
St Edmundsbury Borough Council now has until January 10 to put forward other options, which could include sharing a site with a new borough bin lorry depot or identifying a standalone location.
It follows concerns by residents over the potential for odour, heavy traffic congestion, the proximity to existing homes and the 1,250 planned as part of Vision 2031 as well as reducing the recycling facilities at Rougham Hill.
John Corrie, of Rushbrooke Lane, Bury, said: “We don’t see this as nimbyism. We completely accept the need for a waste transfer station but we know there are other much more suitable sites.
“It’s in a totally inappropriate place. It will shrink the size of the existing recycling centre which is very well used already.”
County and borough councillor Sarah Stamp said they would now work with officers to identify alternatives for the station, which will see waste transferred on to larger vehicles to be taken to Great Blakenham to be turned into energy.
She said: “I’m encouraged that at last the views of those actually living in Bury St Edmunds have been listened to over this very controversial issue. The possibility of sharing a depot site with St Edmundsbury opens up more possibilities that I hope will be fully considered within this very tight deadline.”
County and borough councillorTrevor Beckwith said: “It looks like somebody is finally listening to us. It isn’t about whether we should have a waste transfer station it’s about where we put it.
“It’s got to go where it isn’t going to affect people. If they come up with that then fine but if they don’t then the fight will continue.”
The county council has set a January deadline to ensure there is ‘no delay’ in getting a contractor and if the authority deems that the alternative provided is suitable it will not award the contract for the Rougham Hill site.
Cllr John Griffiths, leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, added: “It is extremely helpful of the county council to agree to take a second look at this but we do understand there is a very tight deadline. St Edmundsbury is also looking at the possibility of replacing our own depot and we will certainly investigate whether we could share somewhere other than Rougham Hill.”