Villagers air concerns over plan for recycling centre

11th May 2017

Residents of The Hemingfords have expressed their concerns over plans to build a waste recycling plant on the former Hemingford Abbots golf course.

The 42-acre site, which closed in March 2015, has been earmarked by construction supplier Mick George to develop a waste handling and recycling operations centre.

A meeting was held on April 12 where residents aired their fears about the proposal to representatives from the firm, which is based in Huntingdon.

“The village background is relatively tranquil and this would turn parts of it into industrial,” said Councillor Doug Dew, Huntingdonshire District Council member for The Hemingfords.

“There was quite a lot of concern when it was going to be the First World War centre which, in comparison to this, is quite low key, their plan was more of a temporary nature.

“Residents are quite concerned about it being noisy and bringing in a lot of traffic. People are concerned that it is going to send a lot of vehicles in and out of the villages.”

The proposal states that drivers will use the A14 slip road to enter and exit the site but many fear that some drivers will chose to travel through the villages. However, this has been played down by Mick George, which has said that it is willing to work with local authorities to devise arrangements for drivers.

Jon Stump, finance director at Mick George, said: “The proposed application would use the existing slip road onto the A14 which is part of the primary road network system, and is ideal as no HGVs will travel through local villages. We are willing to enter into routing agreements prohibiting HGV movements through local villages surrounding the proposed site.”

According to the environmental impact assessment there could be 150 loads to the site each day, meaning 300 HGV movements to and from the site.

Hemingford Grey resident Keith Elliott told The Hunts Post that residents in the two villages needed to stand up to stop the plant from going ahead.

“I feel it is one of those things that is going to go through on a nod unless people fight,” Mr Elliott, of Church Street said.

“It is not just going to affect those in Hemingford Abbots, it is going to affect everybody. Everyone comes for peace and this won’t make people come here.”

Other residents have complained that the site will not only cause an increase in traffic but it is likely to create pollution and a smell.

However, Cllr Dew has suggested that if a future application is given the green light restrictions could be put in place to lower the impact on residents.

Mr Stump added: “The proposed operations at the site will complement other waste handling facilities operated by the company to achieve the strategic objective of handling waste in a sustainable manner which can be undertaken with minimal impact to local amenity.

“The appraisals undertaken to date confirm there are no unacceptable environmental impacts resulting from the proposed operations which will be undertaken in a sensitive manner.”

The proposed plant would recycle materials such as cardboard, glass, plastic, and aggregates. If given the go-ahead, the company says the site would create new jobs and provide permanent employment for 150 people.

Mick George has yet to submit a planning application to Cambridgeshire County Council but is likely to enter plans in the coming months.