Corby incinerator meeting to go ahead despite conflict of interest concerns

How the Shelton Road scheme could look
How the Shelton Road scheme could look

A meeting to decide Corby Council’s response to the controversial Shelton Road incinerator plan will go ahead as planned tonight.

The council’s development control meeting is scheduled to take place tonight (Tuesday, July 9) at the Corby Cube but local campaigners this morning raised serious concerns over the involvement in the decision-making process of Corby Council’s partner Electric Corby.

The view of the flues from the Eyebrook Reservoir

The view of the flues from the Eyebrook Reservoir

Two councillors - Anthony Dady and David Sims - sit on both the development control committee and the board of Electric Corby.

The Shelton Road incinerator scheme could see two huge flues built that will be half the size of Blackpool Tower and visible from across the Welland Valley.

It will burn 260,000 tonnes of waste each year from as far away as London.

An overall decision on the project will be made by Northamptonshire County Council in August as they are county’s waste management authority. But Corby Council has been consulted as an interested party and will tonight, (Tuesday, July 9) meet to discuss their own response to the plans. Council officers have proposed a report that backs the scheme, raising no major objections.

Last month, the item was due to be discussed at a previous meeting but it was shelved at the last minute to give more local people time to have their say.

It is on the agenda tonight - but today campaigner Lee Forster questioned the involvement of Electric Corby in the planning process.

The community interest company runs a community energy project, an electric car scheme and zero energy homes. It was founded by Corby Council and set up with a £10,000 loan from the authority. Both Cllrs Anthony Dady and David Sims sit on the Electric Corby board and the Development Control Committee.

In their planning allocation, Devon-based Corby Limited say that, should they get permission, they will ‘support’ Electric Corby although no more details are given.

It is known that councillors had a private briefing with the developer ahead of last month’s meeting.

Campaigner Lee Forster said: “We have grave concerns with regards to a massive conflict of interest that not only affects a couple of committee members but the the entire council as a whole.

”According to the planning application by the developers of the Shelton Road site, they will be supporting Electric Corby should their application be given the go ahead.

”Two members of the DCC, Vice Chair Cllr Anthony Dady and Cllr David Sims both sit on the board of directors for EC (Electric Corby) and they also sit on the committee that will be making the referral tonight.

“We're also questioning whether CBC should be involved at all with any decision making on this planning application as clearly the council as a whole also has a vested interest in this proposal going ahead as their own business EC will be set to gain financially from it.

“We have asked for further investigations to be made until common ground can be met but I don't think it can.

“How can we trust our councils and committees to be fair, impartial and democratic when they have a vested interested in the proposal being discussed?“

A Corby Council spokeswoman confirmed this afternoon that the two councillors in question had sent their apologies for tonight’s meeting and that it would go ahead as planned.

In an email sent by monitoring officer Paul Goult, the officer stresses that CBC are not the decision-making authority but are merely a consultee.

Mr Goult adds: “Electric Corby is a separate body established as a private company. It is not a subsidiary of Corby BC and the council do not have management control or liability for Electric Corby.

“Where matters relating to Electric Corby arise in Full Council or at committee both councillors are advised that they have a “conflict of interest” and should declare a personal and prejudicial interest and play no part in debating or determining any item. I am unaware of any occasion where either councillor has not followed this advice.

“Any decisions reached must be based on material planning considerations and are subject to scrutiny. In this case, where Corby BC are consultees, I am sure that Members will consider the subject matter appropriately, with their conclusions being forwarded to NCC.

A public protest will take place from 6pm and several public speakers are expected to talk at the meeting.