Reasons for Fengrain decision are set out

Fenland district council planning committee, Site visit. Picture: Steve Williams.

Fenland district council planning committee, Site visit. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

Too big and too close to homes that was the essence of why Fengrain’s controversial application for an anaerobic digester on its Wimblington site was turned down by Fenland planners.

Officers took nearly a week to give written reasons why Fenland’s planning committee went against their advice and refused the application to build the AD plant together with silage clamps, earth bunding and the formation of a lagoon.

In the decision notice, posted on the council’s website, the reason for the refusal was given as: “By reasons of the scale and the proximity to the neighbouring residential properties, the proposal would appear visually intrusive and would result in an overbearing impact which would be to the detriment of the residential amenities of dwellings within the area and to the character and visual amenities of the locality.”

It concluded the application was therefore contrary to a raft of planning policies set out in the Fenland Local Plan 2014.

A report to Fenland’s planning committee on February 9 recommended the proposal be approved, but members went against that advice following an empassioned speech by Councillor Pete Murphy, who cited numerous planning policies for why it could be turned down.

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The application went before the commitee because of the huge opposition - 131 letters plus a further 400 objections - plus an equally large amount of support.

Protestors packed Fenland Hall for the meeting waving placards and urging councillors to refuse the application.

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Chief planning officer Graham Nourse said the decision to refuse needed to be made on specific planning grounds to ensure that any appeal by Fengrain would not succeed.

Fengrain has up to 12 months to appeal to the Secreatry of State if they are “aggrieved” by the planning authority’s decision to refuse.

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