A controversial plan to build a £60 million power plant in the heart of Northampton has been sent back to the drawing board for a further three to four months so developers can review it.
Northampton Borough Council says it has met with developer Rolton Kilbride following proposals to build a gasification plant at the Westbridge Depot site in St James Mill Road.
Rolton Kilbride had been on the verge of submitting a planning application for the plant in June, but the council became concerned the firm had not engaged with the public enough.
In a joint statement released this morning, both parties say they will now enter into a lengthy review process following concerns from St James residents over pollution, traffic and the sheer size of the facility.
Council leader, Councillor Mary Markham (Con, Park) said the review will include a discussion of “site opportunities.”
She said: “We both agree that there is a need for energy locally and, from a borough council perspective, there is a need for the efficient handling of waste.
“We have also both committed to thorough consultation and to ensuring that local views are heard.
“Recognising these challenges, we have agreed to meet again in the future. We will look at site opportunities and also consider options in the light of the results of the consultation process.”
Managing director of Rolton Kilbride Andrew Needham, said: “We are pleased to work in conjunction with the authority to explore the best ways to develop the project.
“Energy has been at the heart of this project since the outset, and the need now, if anything, is even greater than before.
“We are and remain fully committed to further engagement with the community. The review process will allow time for further public dialogue and representations in addition to those so far.”
The review is likely to take between three to four months, to include a further period for consultation.
Leader of the opposition Labour group on the borough council Danielle Stone (Lab, Castle) said Rolton Kilbride had clearly underestimated local opinion about the scheme.
“These so-called talks should not be taking place as the St James community have made their views perfectly clear,” she said.
“The borough council should be telling the developer that it is a non-starter and tell them to look to build in another town, perhaps Brackley.
“St James will be in uproar if they feel they are being sold down the river by their borough council.”