Cobham greenbelt waste incinerator appeal withdrawn

Opposition: A five year campaign was waged against the incinerator plans

Opposition: A five year campaign was waged against the incinerator plans

First published in News This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

Proposals for a controversial waste incinerator in Cobham have gone up in smoke after the applicant withdrew its appeal this week.

A planning appeal was due to be heard on March 4, after the plans were unanimously refused by councillors at Surrey County Council on February 6 last year.

Councillors on Elmbridge Council’s west area planning sub-committee also unanimously objected to the plans on November 5, 2012. ahead of the application being sent to the county council.

Six weeks before the appeal was due to be heard, the Planning Inspectorate confirmed the appeal hearing was cancelled.

A spokesman said: “We can confirm the appeal has been withdrawn with immediate effect and interested parties have been written to today [January 21] to be informed of the matter.”

The plans for the biomass plant on greenbelt land in Redhill Road caused outrage among residents, with a number of campaign groups fighting against the plans.

If approved, the site would have been able to generate 2.5 megawatts of electricity an hour for export to the National Grid, by using 30,000 tonnes of waste wood each year.

The incinerator plans also included a fuel handling and storage building, a power generation building with a 24.5m stack would have been built on the 0.73ha site.

Ben Ruddock, chairman of Surrey Environmental Guardians, said: “We have done five years of hard work and I am very relieved it is over, obviously, and I think the most important thing now is to work towards clearing up this site.

“The main task we have now is to try to work with the site owner to get some acceptable planning permission for a non-industrial use that is compatible with the greenbelt.

“We don’t want this site remaining as it is because it attracts travellers and all sorts of people who get on to the land and vandalise it so the only sensible thing for the future is to sit down with the local authority to try to clean up the site.”

David Tipping, vice-chairman of the Cobham Conservation and Heritage Trust, said the appeal withdrawal was a step in the right direction for the town.

He said: “It shows that power of the people does have some influence.

“I am pleased because it has been going on for a long time and the company has been pressing and pressing. They have now seen the light of day that going to appeal and having so many organisations and the county against it, they would have found themselves paying out a lot of money.”

Agent Jake Barnes, of URS Infrastructure and Environment ltd, said he would not make a statement on behalf of his client, SAS Waste Ltd, and did not say why the appeal was withdrawn.

SAS Waste Ltd failed to reply to a request for comment from the Elmbridge Guardian.

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