Forward Swindon quizzed over biomass plant bid
ANGRY residents are calling on the council to hold its own company to account for the Cheney Manor biomass plant planning application.
Paul Saunders, who was nominated by people living in Cheney Manor to represent their views, said he wanted checks to be in place to ensure Forward Swindon, which is funded by the council, does not bring undesirable investment to the town.
Mr Saunders, of Manor Gardens, said the fact Pure Green’s biomass plant was attracted to the town by Forward Swindon shows the company was not working for the best interests of the people living there.
Last week, a Swindon Council planning committee deferred its decision on whether the plant, which proposed to burn waste wood in 30 metre chimneys, should be built.
A number of councillors then appealed to Pure Green to withdraw its application.
“A lot of people I have spoken to believe that this has been swept under the carpet,” said Mr Saunders. “I know Forward Swindon has done an awful lot of good in and around the town, but I don’t believe this last application was in the best interests of the people in Swindon.
“To say they are experts in cutting out the bureaucratic process, which I believed has happened in this case, is a bit much.”
On Tuesday, Haydon Wick Parish Council voted to strongly oppose the new plant. Councillors voiced their serious concern at the lack of both openness and consultation for such a major installation taking place just a few miles from Haydon Wick.
Councillor Garry Perkins, cabinet member for regeneration, said there was not a menu to say what types of developments should take place.
“It’s very subjective – what is good or bad for the town,” said Coun Perkins. “Residents have the democratic right during planning to make their views known. I support the residents 100 per cent but to target one group or department is not going to assist them in getting what they want, which is to protect their environment and neighbourhood.”
A spokesman for Forward Swindon said it was one of its key priorities to encourage businesses to relocate and invest in Swindon. But he added it does not get involved in the planning application – its job is to assist companies in finding suitable locations and introduce them to suppliers and other services.