Plans for a power plant in St James are not dead yet...despite the speculation

Artist's impressions of the planned power plant in St James were released earlier this year.
Artist's impressions of the planned power plant in St James were released earlier this year.

Developers wanting to build a £160 million power plant in Northampton have not ruled out placing it on a St James waste depot, despite speculation they were moving on.

Rolton Kilbride first announced plans to create a gasification plant at the Westbridge depot on St James Mill road in 2014.

But the bid has been delayed following a vocal protest from a local campaign group, who say the plant will pump out dangerous toxins and would tower above the town skyline.

A decision to grant the firm a lease on the land was deferred by Northampton Borough Council at the last minute before a cabinet meeting in June, which further put the scheme in jeopardy.

Last month, Rolton Kilbride announced it was considering “alternative sites” for the facility, which would be powered by non-recyclable waste.

Last week Councillor Gareth Eales (lab, Dallington and Spencer) claimed a senior county council officer had informed him the Westbridge Depot site had been ruled out.

But Rolton Kilbride has hit back saying it is yet to abandon the plans for St James Mill Road, despite the opposition.

Spokesperson, Ian Crummack said: “In conjunction with Northampton Borough Council, Rolton Kilbride are in the middle of a strategic review of the Northampton Renewable Energy Centre proposal, including potential sites.

“As we confirmed recently, we are still exploring a number of possibilities and once we have more information, we will be in a position to publish our findings. “We are committed to the project, and at this stage it is too early to comment on alternative options.”

Former Northampton South MP Brian Binley, who is chair of the community interest company that would sell on the energy from the plant, said it would be a “tragedy” if the plant were sited anywhere other than at the Westbridge Depot.

“Forget the work that would be done to the Doddridge Centre, forget between four and six million pounds worth of investment per year to the built-up environment,” he said.

“All of that would go by the wayside.”

Councillor Rufia Ashraf (Lab, St James) says Rolton Kilbride needs to make up its mind fast, so new plans can be drawn up for the Westbridge Depot.

She said: “The depot has become an eyesore. It is shameful that the only facilities the Gatehouse staff have is a portaloo.

“We understand that the waste-to-energy plant is not going to happen, so the regeneration of the site can be put at the top of the agenda.”