Planning appeal over West Lynn sludge centre proposal is heard

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Around 80 people answered a rallying cry to attend Anglian Water’s appeal hearing over its bid to build a sludge transfer scheme at West Lynn.

Norfolk County Council refused the unpopular application in December because it would see development on agricultural land, but the firm has challenged the decision.

Speaking after the inquiry Alexandra Kemp, Norfolk county councillor, said: “Anglian Water should withdraw this Application to build a Pumping Station in the middle of West Lynn which would just shift noise, odour and nuisance into West Lynn, without solving Clenchwarton’s problems.”

The application is to build a vast ‘sludge import centre’ where the by-products of waste water would be stored before treatment, on a field off Clenchwarton Road, West Lynn.

The sludge would then be piped to the existing treatment works in Clockcase Road, Clenchwarton, where a new ‘sludge cake reception centre’ also forms part of the plan.

Miss Kemp said the inquiry was told half of the sludge cakes being delivered to the proposed new reception centre in Clockcase Road would be from Boston, Lincolnshire. She called on Anglian Water to abandon plans to close Boston Treatment Works.

In refusing the application, Norfolk County Council had said it was contrary to policy to allow the development on agricultural land and it would only have been allowed in exceptional circumstances where there were no alternative locations.

Mark Hodgson, of Savills, representing Anglian Water, told Wednesday’s appeal hearing at West Norfolk Professional Development Centre, in Kilham’s Way, North Lynn, many locations within a 4km radius had been considered and disregarded.

He said they included North Lynn Industrial Estate, the Nar Ouse Regeneration Area, Hardwick Industrial estate, the docks and Saddlebow Industrial Estate, but it had been concluded it was not viable to have the facility on the other side of the River Great Ouse.

Steven Swan, of Anglian Water, accepted there was an existing tunnel under the river, but said it was unsuitable for this pipe.

He said there could be issues with maintenance if the pipe ran under the river and said construction and operation would be costly. He added that those sites would mean an increase of traffic in Lynn.

The pressure group West Lynn Says No had called for residents to attend the hearing to show its unpopularity.

Speaking outside the inquiry room Don Ely, of Foxes Lane, West Lynn, said: “There is a pumping station already next to West Lynn school and the smell from that this summer was atrocious. This one will be God knows how many times bigger and within yards of homes.”

George King, of Cedar Way, West Lynn, wants Anglian Water to forget this idea and revisit historic plans to build a new road to the existing treatment works instead.

He said: “The objections of about four residents scuppered that solution and the road and has given the problem to West Lynn.”

Barry Watkins, owns a house in Poppyfields, West Lynn, which is next to the proposal site.

He said: “It’s the wrong place. We will still have the lorries, but odours and noise as well, right next to a housing estate.”

Clive Sproule, planning inspector, adjourned the inquiry to Monday, December 8, when he will visit the application site.