We're ready to hold a referendum on Northampton power plant plan, say campaigners

Polling cards could be issued to every home in St James and a referendum staged if a planning application is submitted for a £160 million power plant there.

Wednesday, 3rd August 2016, 6:00 am
Councillor Gareth Eales and chairman of St James Residents' Association Graham Crouncher, say they are ready to stage their own referendum on a £160 million power plant scheme.

Energy firm Rolton Kilbride wants to build a waste-to-energy gasification plant on the current Westbridge depot site.

However the scheme has met with strong local reaction, and a campaign group, No Monster Incinerator in Northampton, has formed to stop it going ahead.

The chair of St James Residents Association (SJRA), Graham Croucher, and county councillor for Dallington and Spencer Gareth Eales, now say they are “ready to proceed” with staging their own referendum, asking people whether they want the plant.

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Mr Croucher, said; “If required, we will hold a full day’s polling and issue a poll card to every household in St James and some areas nearby and invite residents to have their say.

“While SJRA are opposed to the plant, we will keep the process impartial and issue balanced advice to allow residents to make an informed decision.

“To reassure everyone, we will have an independent scrutineer to ensure the process is fair and there is no impropriety.”

Councillor Eales had requested Northamptonshire County Council, which will decide on the planning application, to stage such a referendum.

But his motion, put to the full council meeting in June, was turned down. A similar request to Rolton Kilbride to stage their own referendum was also refused.

Councillor Eales says the “community referendum” he plans to stage will only take place in the event of a plan being submitted.

He said: “It all hinges at the moment on whether a planning application is submitted and whether Rolton Kilbride get the lease agreement for the Westbridge site from Northampton Borough Council, both of which I sincerely hope will not happen. “However, in that scenario myself and the community are ready to push the button to print all flyers, poll cards and ballot papers. Rolton Kilbride should be under no illusion -the community are 100 percent ready.”