Power plant firm offers free heat to Northampton homes in battle over public opinion

Artist's impressions show how the proposed gasification power plant in St James would look.
Artist's impressions show how the proposed gasification power plant in St James would look.
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Developers of the £120 million new power plant in Northampton have held back submitting a planning application and are offering free heat to homes.

In recent weeks there has been growing dissent for Rolton Kilbride’s plans to build a 200,000 tonne per year waste gasifier at the Westbridge depot in St James, as part of the Northampton Community energy Scheme.

The developer had been due to submit a planning application for the plant last Friday - but has delayed doing so, only days after a residents group called for a referendum on the power plant.

Rolton Kilbride said: “Northampton Community Energy Scheme is currently gathering detailed information and reports and will be submitting a full planning proposal in the next few months.”

The delay comes shortly after the St James Residents’ Association called for the planning application to be put back so more views could be gathered from an “increasingly concerned” public.

The residents’ Association also called for a referendum to be held on the matter.

But in a further move, Rolton Kilbride has now proposed to supply heat to 2,000 homes for free if the plant is built.

A spokesman for the company said: “Fuel poverty is a major issue in many parts of Northampton.

“A district heating network could significantly improve the situation for many homes and we would be generating enough heat for 2,000 households.”

The company has mapped out provisional areas the heat network could reach via www.northamptoncommunityenergy.co.uk.

The maps shows homes in St James, Far Cotton and Spring Boroughs, would receive the heat, but the firm says this is not “set in stone” and the company says it wants to hear from people outside of these areas in fuel poverty, who would also like to recover the free heat.

Also this week, chief executive of Northampton’s Citizen’s Advice Bureau, Martin Lord, has given the power plant his backing.