Water company told to rethink West Lynn sewage plan after inspector rejects scheme

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Residents and community leaders are celebrating after a controversial scheme for a sewage treatment centre in West Lynn was thrown out.

Anglian Water bosses have been told to rethink their plans after a government inspector dismissed their appeal over their proposed development off Clenchwarton Road.

But the company has insisted the plan remains the best way to resolve public concerns surrounding its treatment facilities in the area.

It was announced on Thursday that planning inspector Clive Sproule had rejected Anglian Water’s challenge to the decision of Norfolk County Council to reject the application in December 2013.

The company had wanted to build a reception centre with a pipeline connecting the site to its existing treatment works in Clenchwarton.

But local people argued the plant would be too close to the Poppyfields housing estate and that extra traffic, noise and smells would blight their lives.

Resident Denise Collins, a leading figure in the campaign against the scheme, hailed the inspector’s ruling, which followed two public hearings in October and December, as “fantastic” for the village.

She praised local residents, councillors and MP Henry Bellingham for their support, adding: “It’s proof that when everyone stands together they can make a difference.”

Meanwhile, borough councillor Gary McGuinness paid tribute to Ms Collins, whom he described as “indefagitable.”

He said: “It’s great news for West Lynn, a real demonstration of people power. The planning inspector seemed truly surprised by the strength of local feeling and number of people who turned up to the inquiry.”

Mr Bellingham said: “It’s a significant victory for local people. This was always going to be controversial but there were a significant number of objections.”

He said he supported the idea of a new treatment centre, which the company has argued is necessary to reduce the number of lorries going to and from its existing site at Clockcase Lane, Clenchwarton, along unsuitable roads.

But he urged them to “go back to the drawing board” and find an alternative location.

He said: “They really have to find a site that is able to command public support. Anglian Water is a reputable utility and it is incumbent on them to work with local people to find the right solution.”

However, a company spokesman said: “We believe our plan to build a covered reception centre, pumping station and pipeline on the outskirts of West Lynn remains the best option and location available to reflect the concerns of all local communities.

“During the planning process we have extensively consulted with local residents, councillors and interest groups to ensure the most effective plan was taken forward. Of course, we are disappointed that planning has not been approved.

“We are currently undertaking a full evaluation of the planning inspectorate’s report.”