Pure Green, the front company created by Belgian business Hippofan, has done nothing in the last six months to further their proposal to burn thousands of tons of scrap wood to make animal bedding at the former SquareD site on the Cheney Manor Trading Estate.
Therefore planners at Swindon Council have ‘disposed’ of the outstanding planning application, much to the delight of campaigners who put up a stiff resistence to the project.
Swindon Borough Council Development Control Manager announced at the planning committee on 11 March that the application would not go any further under provisions of Article 36(13) of the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2010.
Hippofan’s plan was to transport 90 truck loads of wood every day to be burnt to generate energy for processing virgin wood into animal bedding.
Apart from the massive highway congestion, people living around Cheney Manor rose up to object on the grounds of pollution and the potentially serious health impact of burning wood so close to a residential area.
Several large scale protests took place at the Civic Offices during 2013 to force Hippofan to consider their position, pictured right by Richard Wintle of Calyx
Rodbourne Cheney councillor Des Moffat, who jointly coordinated the campaign against the project, said he was delighted with the outcome. "This is a clear victory for common sense and the people who supported the campaign against a totally inappropriate planning application. It was also a cross party effort with representatives of all persuasions working together for the good of the community."
North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson agrees: "This is absolutely fantastic news. Ultimately the application was slap dash and unprofessional and thankfully common sense has prevailed. This is a real credit to the positive and constructive campaign of fellow local residents and councillors."
Peter Watts, Cheney Manor councillor on the Planning Committee, said: "I am pleased to announce that the threat to burn very large quantities of scrap wood on the Cheney Manor Trading Estate, pictured above, has been ended. During the campaign I was fettered in publicly discussing that monstrous proposal but now that is gone I am free.
"I think everybody would like to thank Des Moffatt, Jim Grant, Paul Saunders, Bill King, Terry Hunt, Terri Jones, Darren Moffatt, Steve Hobbs and other members of the campaign steering group who may wish to be anonymous. I also place on record our appreciation for the support of Justin Tomlinson MP.
"We thank the public for their support without which we would not have won.
"The proposal was quite ridiculous and for some most annoying in that it undermined the need to search for genuine alternative sources of energy. As Paul Saunders always said, biomass is a material not a process, and indeed there are ways to use biomass to produce electricity other than simply burning it to pollute the urban environment.
"When Des and I met with the original local advocate of this application and we told him it was incineration he could only say, ‘We don’t know the technical details.’
There is nothing technical about burning wood no matter how sophisticated the feed belts are or how high the chimneys are. Swindon does not need this casual approach to regeneration. We will seek to reinvigorate the Cheney Manor Industrial Estate with neighbour friendly industry and commerce.
Victory handshake. Des Moffat, left, and campaign speaker Paul Saunders pictured at Cheney Manor by Richard Wintle of Calyx