UPDATED: Waste hub ‘amendments’ criticised for not going far enough

Waste Hub site at Hollow Road Farm.
Waste Hub site at Hollow Road Farm.
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Documents prepared as part of the delayed West Suffolk Operational Hub application have been criticised by residents and parish councils as ‘not going nearly far enough’.

Suffolk County Council and the West Suffolk councils want to build a waste transfer station, household waste recycling centre and fleet depot on a single site north of Hollow Road Farm, in Fornham St Martin.

Waste hub site map

Waste hub site map

Last month St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s development control committee deferred making a decision on the controversial plans to allow the applicants time to consider members’ concerns, including highway safety and site access read more.

In response, the applicants submitted a number of new documents which members of the public have until Sunday to comment on as part of a 17 day reconsultation period.

But those documents have been criticised as ‘not going far enough’ with a record of pre-application discussions submitted in response to calls for traffic calming measures in Fornham Road and the A134 – a 60mph dual carriageway where an uncontrolled pedestrian crossing is proposed – which states the county’s highways team wanted the current speed limit to remain.

Similarly, an appraisal summary, submitted in response to calls to create a site access for HGVs off the Compiegne Way roundabout instead of off Fornham Road, concludes that doing so could cost more than £1.5 million and would be complicated by issues over land ownership and the need to alter the scheme’s internal design.

Adrian Graves, spokesman for the Villages Community Forum, said: “The three parish council chairmen of Fornham St Martin cum St Genevieve, Fornham All Saints and Great Barton will meet this coming week to discuss their approach to the next stages.

“Having reviewed the additional documents that have been submitted and made available on the planning portal, there’s a common view that these amendments don’t go anything like far enough and this is very disappointing.

“The parish councils, amongst others, had made requests for the reconsultation to be extended beyond the 17 days allocated but these requests have been denied.

“This adds to concerns given the absence of councillors during the holiday period and, therefore, the time and opportunity for proper review of the amended proposals is, sadly, inadequate.”

Residents have lodged further objections to the scheme, with Margaret Marshall, of Diomed Drive, Great Barton, describing it as ‘a mistake’ and stating that her objections remain unchanged since the committee’s deferment or proposed ‘amendments’.

Likewise, in her objection, Elaine Read, of Mill Road, Great Barton, said: “I objected to the original application and my views are unchanged. The access to this site is dangerous. This is a relatively narrow road with many hundreds of traffic movements per week. There needs to be either a roundabout or significant widening of the road around the access. There is no thought of the unmonitored vehicles which will increase though the villages.”

But at last night’s Bury St Edmunds Town Council’s planning, licensing and finance committee meeting, members confirmed their position by declaring support for the waste hub re-consultation.

Andrew Speed, chairman of the town council, said: “This has been a challenging decision but it is important that the residents of the town have a future-proof waste facility as the town grows over the next 20 years. We have given careful consideration to the new information and reached a decision that will encourage the project to move forward.”

The borough council has set a provisional date of September 21 to hold a special Development Control Committee meeting to decide the outcome of the hub application.

A council spokesman said: “We are currently in the middle of a consultation on the revised West Suffolk Operational Hub plans and therefore at this point we can’t say for certain that there will be a special Development Control Committee on that day. However, subject to what happens during the consultation, the council is holding that provisional date for the committee to meet to discuss the plans. This is part of our expected practice when we are required to convene additional committee meetings.”

To view the new documents search DC/17/0521/FUL at www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/planning.