Counting the cost of fighting a planning appeal - protestors ask the people of Wimblington if they will donate to the cost of fighting an anaerobic digester

Wimblington Against Anaerobic digester. Angela Johnson with her banner. Picture: Steve Williams.

Wimblington Against Anaerobic digester. Angela Johnson with her banner. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

Villagers have enlisted the help of a leading law firm to find out the cost of continuing its battle against an anaerobic digester being built in Wimblington.

Fengrain demonstration

Fengrain demonstration - Credit: Archant

Campaigners have arranged a public meeting to ask villagers if they are prepared to donate to a fund to keep fighting Fengrain’s plans to build the digester in Hook Lane.

Protestor Angela Johnson said they have a six week window to put in a Section 288 to quash the appeal.

She said: “To ascertain how strong a case we have, the law firm need to start looking into all the documentation.

“To do this we need to put money on account. Stage one will cost £2,500 + VAT. This stage is critical in the fact that we will know whether we can push forward and get this decision quashed.

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“An important consideration, especially for those living in close proximity to the proposed site, is the value of our properties.

“This afternoon I drove along the A141 bypass towards Tesco and wandered what on earth the disgusting smell was, it was from the anaerobic digester at Westry. We could be subjected to strong, unpleasant odour if this AD goes ahead.

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“There are going to be those amongst us who don’t think we should be taking this any further and that is their prerogative, that is also why we are calling a public meeting.

“What we don’t want to happen is that we loose the opportunity in the six week window and therefore the chance to get the decision quashed.

“As a community we have to show solidarity and unity.

Despite two planning appeals, in which a Government inspector heard how villagers and NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay vehemently opposed the plans, the application was given the go ahead.

Now, protestors are organising a new round of campaigning to stop the anaerobic digester which will generate up to 78 extra lorries a day in busy harvest season.

Nick Palmer, who has overseen appeals on two separate planning applications said the AD would economically benefit members of the farming co-operative by providing an additional source of income and providing digestate for use as a fertiliser.

He gave the digestion plant the green light to be built in Hook Lane.

Fenland Council dropped some of its opposition – on highways grounds, living conditions for residents and disrupting the character and appearance of the area.

Mr Palmer said he took into account opposition from residents.

The inspector felt a public right of way, The Woodmans Way, would not be prejudiced by the digestion plant. Neither did he feel it would harm the character and appearance of the area.

He also expressed confidence in Fenland Council’s ability to monitor the impacts of odour and noise.

• A public meeting has been organised at Wimblington village hall on Thursday October 27 at 7.30pm when residents will be told the latest legal position and a decision taken on whether to keep fighting.

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