Parish poll voters reject bio plant

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VILLAGERS have voted against plans for a parish council to lease its land for the building of a bio-power plant.

Feltwell residents went to the polls last Thursday to answer the question: Should the parish lease land to RegBio for the building of a bio-power plant?

Voters returned a resounding ‘no’ to the question, as more than 75 per cent rejected the plans.

Turnout for the poll was 30.08 per cent, with 512 of the 1,702 electorate voting.

The parish poll was called for after 650 people signed a petition against plans to lease land to REG Bio-Power UK Ltd off Old Brandon Road.

With parish polls not deemed legally binding, Paul Garland, chairman of Feltwell Parish Council, said the council would need to look at the results.

“I am disappointed that only 512 out of 1,702 electors bothered to turn out to express an opinion,” he said.

“The 388 votes against is only 22.5 per cent – in other words more than 75 per cent either voted for or trust in the council to do the right thing for the parish of Feltwell.

“As the result of a parish poll not being binding on any parish council we will carefully consider the way forward at our next meeting.”

Campaigner Vanessa Cock said there had been a strong reaction to the poll, with polling stations jammed on the day.

But she was not hopeful that the council would heed the poll’s result.

“I think that’s the issue now because it’s not legally binding and it hasn’t gone their way.

“I would hope that the parish council would represent the view of the residents, as they should, but I haven’t got much faith in them.

“This issue has caused an awful lot of anger and ill-feeling in the village and I hope it’s the end of the matter,” she said.

The poll cost the parish council around £2,000.

A planning application for the land was entered by REG Bio earlier this year, but later withdrawn.