Plans for Operational Hub set to go to full council

The outside of a waste transfer station in March, Cambridgeshire ANL-160906-095204005
The outside of a waste transfer station in March, Cambridgeshire ANL-160906-095204005

Critics of the proposed West Suffolk Operational Hub (WSOH) have described the decision to move forward with the plans as a ‘box ticking exercise’.

St Edmundsbury Borough and Forest Heath District Council cabinets met on Tuesday to discuss the controversial scheme with both cabinets voting to recommend the proposals to full council on June 28.

Four campaigners fighting the plans grilled both cabinets saying there were alternative sites that were ‘workable, well-supported and financially sound’ that had been ignored.

Howard Quayle, Fornham All Saints Parish Chairman said: “At a time of cutbacks and service reductions in other areas, it makes no sense to proceed with the vanity project of the West Suffolk Operational Hub.”

Councillor Beccy Hopfensperger, representing the Fornham ward, said the scheme ‘seems to disregard the consultation results’.

She said there was only a £99,000 difference per year between co-locating all waste facilities at a single site and keeping the Rougham Hill Household Waste Recycling Centre.

She said: “What is the price for democracy and the peace of residents affected by this decision.”

Paul Hopfensperger also criticised the plans saying the ‘entire project’ had been ‘handled disastrously.’
“You initially tried to sneak it through the back door during an election. You simply haven’t listened to public opinion.”

Campaigner Adrian Graves described the meeting as a ‘box ticking exercise’.

But Councillor Peter Stevens, St Edmundsbury’s Cabinet Member for Operations, said the council had been as thorough as they could have been.

He said: “These proposals have continued to be raised, especially – and not surprisingly – by those living just to the north of Bury St Edmunds. I note that there have also been comments in favour of the proposals too.

“If there is one thing we cannot be accused of, it is ignoring the very many careful and thoughtful responses. I hope that my colleagues will agree that the detail contained within this report and its appendices clearly demonstrates that we have taken great care and given a great deal of thought to every piece of feedback which has been carefully considered and answered.

“We have also acted on some of them, for example through adding an extra traffic criterion for assessing potential options.”

Full council will discuss the issue on Tuesday June 28 from 6pm.