Objectors cry “well done” as plan for Sutton Bridge renewable energy park refused

A controversial plan for a renewable energy park at Sutton Bridge has been refused by councillors after the applicant failed to provide sufficient details.

There were cries of “well done” from objectors in the public gallery at South Holland District Council as the planning application by Energy Park Sutton Bridge Ltd was unanimously rejected.

It was an end to the latest episode in a long-running saga.
Sutton Bridge resident Shirley Giles secured a High Court ruling quashing a permission granted last January. It was said that the council had not adequately considered the sustainability of the development.

In order for the plan to be reconsidered, the council asked Energy Park Sutton Bridge Ltd for detail on:

  • sustainability of the fuel source
  • cumulative impact on air quality
  • potential impact of emissions on The Wash

When the information was not forthcoming, planning officers called time on the application and recommended that councillors rejected it.

Mrs Giles, who is a Sutton Bridge parish councillor and is running for a district council seat in May, launched the legal challenge personally.
She told last week’s meeting: “It’s a sad day when someone has to take legal action to prove that an authority got it wrong.
“A project of this nature would have been a disaster for the residents of Sutton Bridge and the surrounding area.”

Mrs Giles urged the district council to take much more care before granting any future planning permissions for the site.

Coun Bryan Alcock asked officers whether the reason was robust enough to resist a possible appeal. Planning manager Paul Jackson replied that it would be “imprudent” for an appeal based on the report before them.

Meanwhile, a Gedney resident who supported the application accused some objectors of “jumping on the bandwagon” and would “complain about anything being built nearby”.
The supporter warned of the lost benefits in turning down the application.
In a representation made before last week’s meeting, they told the council: “Renewable energy is here to stay.
“If Sutton Bridge is turned down, a similar plant will be built somewhere else. That place will get the £300m investment, that place will get the 300 jobs during construction, the 85 full-time jobs and 150 direct industry-related jobs once the project is operational.
“Somewhere else will enjoy the discounted energy for locals and the £250,000 per year input into the community cohesion fund.”

Energy Park Sutton Bridge Ltd did not reply to a request by The Voice for comment on the outcome.

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