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Campaigners delighted as £200million incinerator plan for Waterbeach is rejected

Campaigners against the incinerator plant at Waterbeach including Jazz Seamarks, 18 , centre. Picture: Keith Heppell
Campaigners against the incinerator plant at Waterbeach including Jazz Seamarks, 18 , centre. Picture: Keith Heppell

Cambridgeshire county councillors throw out AmeyCespa plans

Amey waste treatment facility
Amey waste treatment facility

Councillors have delighted thousands of campaigners today by throwing out plans for a £200million incinerator in Waterbeach.

AmeyCespa wanted to create an energy-from-waste facility at Levitt’s Field, on Waterbeach Waste Management Park, off Ely Road.

It would have treated up to 250,000 tonnes of waste per year and provided electricity for 63,000 homes.

But protestors - thousands of whom signed a petition against the proposals - were fearful of toxic waste products from the 80-metre chimney.

And there were also objections relating to the visual impact of the development, which would have been near some important heritage sites including Denny Abbey.

At today’s all-day meeting of Cambridgeshire County Council’s planning committee, objectors spoke out about the plans, and councillors heeded the message, voting it down.

But some fear it will not be the end of the plans.

Councillors refused it on the grounds of “significant adverse effects” on the landscape which could not be resolved through proposed mitigation,

They pointed out that it would also affect the “visual amenity” for local residents, taking into account comments from Cllr Sebastian Kindersley.

A second reason given for refusal was on heritage grounds. Councillors decided the “harm to the setting of the Denny Abbey complex asset was not outweighed by the benefits of the proposal”, making it contrary to policies protecting heritage sites.

Residents of Waterbeach and other nearby villages had turned out in force to object to the proposed incinerator at today’s planning meeting.The total number of speakers against the incinerator was 37. After the proposal was theown out by councillors in a seven to one vote, campaigners were jubilant.

Waterbeach resident and Shirley Primary School headteacher John Cattermole had taken the day off work to speak against the incinerator because he was concerned for the health of local children and the damage that would be caused to local heritage by the incinerator building.

He said: “This has restored my faith in local democracy. I feel fantastic about this decision. It was a huge team effort and everyone played their part. We are all just so pleased the council thought about our local heritage. This incinerator would have been a huge eyesore. To have seven coiuncillors against the proposal and only one for is a resounding victory as well.”

Barbara Bull, chair of Waterbeach Parish Council, said: “This is a real result for us and the first time that our objections to a planning application have been successful. The the support of whole of Waterbeach Parish Council and the public for our objections has been fantastic. We are very relieved.”

Novelist and Waterbeach resident Gunivere Glasfurd-Brown, who also spoke at the meeting, told the Cambridge Independent afterwards: “I am absolutely delighted and thrilled with this victory for local activism and local democracy. I can’t tell you how much work has gone into opposing this incinerator but it has all been worthwhile - it proves that you can achieve change if you stand up for what is right.”

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Watch live as planners decide whether Waterbeach incinerator can go ahead

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