Council is told to ‘buy King’s Lynn incinerator site so it can’t be built’

Willows Business Park Saddlebow, King's Lynn''Land in the foreground is the proposed site for the incinerator ENGANL00120131018142016
Willows Business Park Saddlebow, King's Lynn''Land in the foreground is the proposed site for the incinerator ENGANL00120131018142016
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West Norfolk Council should buy the site earmarked for the Lynn incinerator project to make absolutely sure it cannot be built, one of its members has suggested.

Although Norfolk County Council voted to terminate its contract for the scheme with Cory Wheelabrator earlier this month, concerns remain that the plant could still be built if planning permission is granted.

And the consortium itself has indicated it is unlikely to decide what to do with the project until the agreement is formally terminated this week.

During a full borough council meeting on Thursday night, independent Paul Foster called for council leader Nick Daubney to back the idea of the authority purchasing the Saddlebow site.

He argued that the move would not only stop the incinerator being built but also allow the Material Works consortium, which has a contract for dealing with West Norfolk’s waste, to buy the site in the future.

He said: “Rather than keep talking about what to do with the county’s waste, it is time some decisions were made.

“You have the title of Leader. Will you now lead on this?”

Mr Daubney said: “The land could be made available, presumably. We’re in constant conversations with the owners. I do support that proposal.”

The site is currently owned by Norfolk County Council, who confirmed they were aware the borough council was interested in the site.

A spokesman said: “We would be interested to receive an offer from them - or any potential purchaser - and would of course give it full and proper consideration.”

The exchange came after another independent councillor, Mike Tilbury, asked Mr Daubney how he could be sure the incinerator truly was “no more”, given that a decision still has to be made over the planning application for the development.

Last week, communities secretary Eric Pickles indicated that he would still make a decision the scheme, but did not say when that might happen.

Mr Daubney admitted he did not know how Mr Pickles would rule on the scheme, but added: “My confidence comes from the people commissioning the project voting to cancel the contract.”

Following the county council’s decision to end the contract, taken on April 7, the agreement will formally end on Thursday, when higher compensation payments would have come into effect.

A Cory Wheelabrator spokesman said they were unlikely to comment on their future plans until the contract had been terminated.

Meanwhile, borough council deputy leader Brian Long has insisted that the Material Works scheme, which would see the borough’s black bin waste used to make a plastic-type compound called omnicite, remains the best option for dealing with West Norfolk’s waste.

The status of the project was questioned after he revealed he had attended a meeting with an unnamed firm about an alternative proposal called pyrolasis, at the invitation of South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss.

But he said the process was not a form of recycling and, as a result, would not be acceptable to the authority.

He added: “The relevance of that has no bearing whatsoever on the council’s contract with Material Works.

“The project is still looking favourable. They are still making progress towards the conditions we set for them and I am confident they offer the best solution for this authority.”