Bid to hold referendum on Northampton power plant is thrown out

Campaigners outside County Hall this morning were calling for plans for a gasification plant in St James to be scrapped.

Campaigners outside County Hall this morning were calling for plans for a gasification plant in St James to be scrapped.

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A motion calling on developers to hold a referendum over their plans for a £160 million power plant in Northampton fell after a vote.

Councillor Gareth Eales (Lab, Dallington and Spencer) had called on the county council to urge Rolton Kilbride to hold a referendum over their proposed plant in St James.

But a vote at the full Northamptonshire County Council meeting this afternoon defeated the motion.

Leader of the council, Councillor Heather Smith, (Con, Oundle) said agreeing the motion would put the county council in a difficult position “legally” as it would be down to the authority to decide on Rolton Kilbride’s planning application.

She said: “We should not even be talking about this at this stage.

“I 100 per cent support when that when any application comes forward there must be a full consultation.

“But as far as having any more discussion on this I suggest we really shouldn’t say any more.”

The motion fell by recorded vote - 14 for and 24 against. Five councillors abstained.

But Councillor Eales says he will hold his own referendum in St James.

The problem is the county council’s idea of a consultation is fill in a form, click on a web link.

“This needs to be much more than that.

“If Rolton Kilbride won’t be made to hold one - we will hold one.”

Residents in Desborough recently held a vote of no confidence in their town council, after the authority rose its council tax precept by 400 per cent. It cost the town £4,000.

This afternoon impassioned pleas were made to support the motion by members of the public.

St James Residents’ Association chairman Graham Croucher the power plant plan for the Westbridge depot was as controversial as “HS2.”

“This is a growing action group and St James will not be silenced on this issue,” he said.

“We are no different to the people in the villages - this is our own village and we stand ready to defend it.”