Legal challenge to changes to proposed gasification plant in Corby

Cllr Rob McKellar has served the county council with a formal Letter Before Claim, threatening to bring a judicial review of any decision to lift a 30-mile catchment zone around the site of the proposed plant
Cllr Rob McKellar has served the county council with a formal Letter Before Claim, threatening to bring a judicial review of any decision to lift a 30-mile catchment zone around the site of the proposed plant

A Corby councillor has brought a legal challenge against Northamptonshire County Council over plans for a gasification plant in the town.

The authority has recommended that members of its development control committee should lift restrictions on the area from which waste can be brought to the proposed plant, which would be built on the outskirts of Corby.

Cllr Rob McKellar, who represents the Weldon and Gretton ward on Corby Council, has served the county council with a formal Letter Before Claim, threatening to bring a judicial review of any decision to lift a 30-mile catchment zone around the site of the proposed plant.

An application by developer Drenl Ltd to remove the 30-mile catchment zone is due to be heard by the committee tomorrow (Tuesday, March 17) after Drenl claimed that its proposals would not be financially viable unless the restrictions are lifted.

It has proposed to replace the existing 30-mile restriction with an alternative catchment area representing a “90-minute drive” from the proposed site.

In a letter to the council, Cllr McKellar argued that lifting the restrictions would violate planning law as the National Planning Policy Framework requires that all planning condtions must be both precise and enforceable.

Cllr McKellar claims that replacing a defined restriction based upon mileage with one based upon travel time contravenes both of these principles.

He said: “Local residents are strongly opposed to this waste plant and I am determined to stop it from going ahead.

“By keeping the 30-mile restriction in place we can achieve this.

“Planning law requires precision in all planning conditions, but the revised condition that the developer is proposing does not meet this requirement.

“It is unclear as to whether the ‘90-minute drive’ refers to travel time in a car, lorry or some other vehicle.

“The map annexed to the planning application tends to suggest a car, but it is much more likely that waste will be transported by lorry.

“Equally, there is no way to determine whether the proposed restriction accounts for the route taken, the speed travelled or the traffic conditions en route.

“This renders the proposed condition to be unlawful under the National Planning Policy Framework.”

There have been more than 100 objections to the changes from local residents and almost 1,000 people have signed two petitions objecting to them.