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Concerns over electricity plant in Sturmer

Simmos Playzone owner Mark Simpkin with son JJ and ward member Cllr Tony Brown at the proposed site
Simmos Playzone owner Mark Simpkin with son JJ and ward member Cllr Tony Brown at the proposed site

Concerns have been raised over a proposal to build a standby electricity generation facility on a brownfield site in Sturmer.

Outline planning consent is being sought to develop a gas-fuelled 49MW facility with ancillary infrastructure, to include gas reception kiosks, control rooms, storage tanks, switch rooms and a metering station, on a site in Boundary Road.

A planning statement prepared by Indigo Planning on behalf of applicant UK Energy Reserve (UKER) says the power plant would consist of 24 generators and would only operate when the local demand for electricity was close to exceeding the available supply.

But residents, business owners and St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s ward member have objected to the scheme, with noise, vibrations, emissions and visual impact among their concerns.

In his objection, David Porth, of Linnetts Lane, said: “Sturmer has experienced a number of incidents when emissions from industrial plants in Haverhill have caused both smell and noise pollution throughout the village.

“I believe that Sturmer will be disadvantaged by this development without receiving any benefit.”

Permjit Rai, of Rowley Hill, said: “The stretch of road along the bypass has a rural continuity and this will be out of character for this location. The site is visible at all exists at the roundabout and will look out of place and ugly.”

Stephen Hopkins, also of Rowley Hill, has complained about the lack of consultation with residents within close proximity to the site and said it would be an ‘eyesore’ at a gateway to the village.

Mark Simpkin, of Simmo’s Playzone, in Boundary Road, has also objected, saying it would be ‘totally inappropriate’ to locate a power station so close to a children’s play area.

Cllr Tony Brown shares the concerns and has requested the application be ‘called-in’ for consideration by the council’s Development Control Committee, which is due to meet next on November 3.

He said the plant would take up nearly four acres of industrial land in an area where there could soon be a ‘desperate shortage’ and would be controlled remotely so would not create local jobs.

He said: “It’s the potential noise, vibration and environmental impact it’s going to have on businesses, residents, and it doesn’t need to go there – it doesn’t actually bring any jobs and takes up a big chunk of the last remaining industrial land.”

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