Fenland villagers celebrate as smell, noise, and visual impact deliver knock out blows to Fengrain's latest bid for an anaerobic digester

PUBLISHED: 18:14 03 December 2015 | UPDATED: 09:59 04 December 2015

Residents rejoice as application is unanimously refused

Residents rejoice as application is unanimously refused

Archant

Crowds cheered and residents rejoiced as Fengrain's contentious proposal to build an anaerobic digester in Wimblington was unanimously refused.

Photos from the special meeting of Fenland Council Planning Committee called to debate AD plant at Wimmblington (PHOTO: Rob Morris)Photos from the special meeting of Fenland Council Planning Committee called to debate AD plant at Wimmblington (PHOTO: Rob Morris)

Yesterday’s decision, taken at a special meeting of Fenland Council planning committeee, saw all nine councillors refuse the application for a number of reasons.

Visual impact, alongside noise, odour, highway safety and ‘general wellbeing’ were among the reasons cited by councillors Kit Owen, Dee Laws and Sam Hoy.

Councillor Peter Murphy added that “common sense” should also be added onto the list of reasons for refusal.

Local people from Chatteris, Doddington, Manea, March and, of course, Wimblington turned out in force, armed with their ‘No Digester’ signs to unite in opposition against the proposal – with many queuing out of the doors and councillors having to set out more chairs to accommodate.

Photos from the special meeting of Fenland Council Planning Committee called to debate AD plant at Wimmblington (PHOTO: Rob Morris)Photos from the special meeting of Fenland Council Planning Committee called to debate AD plant at Wimmblington (PHOTO: Rob Morris)

The proposal, to erect an anaerobic digester plant with associated three silage clamps with 2.63m perimeter grass seeded bund, 3m high acoustic fencing site office, car parking area, formation of a surface water lagoon, weighbridge and formation and improvement of an access track, at land east of Fengrain Hook Lane in Wimblington.

Council members were also told that out of 166 objectors, 154 were from Wimblington and out of 58 supporters only 21 were from the local area – the other 37 were from as far away as Braintree and Dunmow.

Cllr Florence Newell commended the impressive turnout and said: “I’ve sat here for many years and I don’t think I have ever seen this amount of people in objection to a plan.”

Other comments heard were “the wellbeing of residents has clearly been affected otherwise this amount of people would not be here today”, meanwhile Cllr Kit Owen’s numerous impassioned speeches garnered the biggest cheers.

Photos from the special meeting of Fenland Council Planning Committee called to debate AD plant at Wimmblington (PHOTO: Rob Morris)Photos from the special meeting of Fenland Council Planning Committee called to debate AD plant at Wimmblington (PHOTO: Rob Morris)

Paul Randle, representing the applicants, Fengrain, said the development would create “an awful lot of benefit for the community” and cited that they would increase their workforce by one person.

However, speaking before the meeting, Wimblington Against Anaerobic Digester members David Connor and Chris Hennen said it would be “totally wrong if the proposal were to be accepted.”

Mr Connor, of Doddington, added: “It would be a complete blight on the local area.”

Mr Hennen, also of WAAD, added: “It’s the villages that will suffer.”

Fengrain’s application to build an anaerobic digester was originally submitted in February 2015 and was refused on the basis that it would have a negative visual impact.

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