Neighbouring council set to OBJECT to Corby incinerator over acid rain fears and visual impact on nearby homes

The planned incinerator and its 75m towers  would be spotted from miles away.
The planned incinerator and its 75m towers would be spotted from miles away.

East Northamptonshire Council looks set to strongly object to a controversial incinerator plan in Corby because of acid rain fears and the waste plant’s impact on two nearby historic houses.

Environmental protection officers and conservation staff at the council have pored over the details of the ‘exceptionally tall’ incinerator plant proposed for Shelton Road in Corby and are recommending that tonight (Aug 21) councillors on the planning committee register a strong objection to the waste burning incinerator.

They have fears that acid deposition from the incinerator site will fall on and impact the nearby site of special scientific interest at Weldon Park and think the heritage assets of Deene Park and Kirby Hall would be harmed by the proposal. They also think the townscape and visual assessment paid for by developers underestimates the visual impact the incinerator will have on the nearby Priors Hall housing development.

The tallest building planned stands at 39m high and it will have two 75m towers.

Despite strong words from Corby councillors at a planning meeting last month (July) the Corby authority has not objected to the proposal in its consultation response submitted last month to planning authority Northamptonshire County Council.

In the officers report to be considered by East Northamptonshire councillors, officers recommend the council formerly objects to the proposal and sends the following response to Northamptonshire county council:

“East Northamptonshire Council strongly objects to the planning application on the grounds of the significant landscape and visual impact and resultant harm to heritage assets namely Kirby Hall (grade I listed house and II* park and gardens) and Deene Park (grade II).

The proposed buildings and two 75m high chimney stacks are exceptionally tall. The application supporting documents recognise that: ‘the upper part of the building and stack, by virtue of their height, will be a noticeable addition to the skyline. Furthermore the townscape and visual assessment identifies that: ‘it (the development) will be substantially larger in height, scale and mass than the industrial units immediately adjacent to it and the ‘upper sections of the facility will be visible over a wide area but will be too tall to significantly mitigate with landscaping or bunding.”

The applicants are Devon-based Corby Limited run by directors Matthew Small and fuel and alternative energy entrepreneur David Bramhill. They say the incinerator would generate £180m for the local economy, raise £900,000 in business rates and woudl provide cheap electricity for local businesses.

The developers environmental statement says the impact on sensitive habitat sites would be insignificant except for the acid deposition at the Weldon Park nature reserve.

If approved, the incinerator will process up to 260,000 tonnes of waste per year and is predicted to generate up to 170 HGV movements every day.

East Northamptonshire council has concern about the lorries and wants the highways authority to give advice to the county council on the matter. The council’s environmental protection team is also recommending the county authority seeks comments from the Environment Agency about the potential risk to controlled waters; asks Public Health England about the impact on people and gets advice from Natural England about the acid rain impact on Weldon Park.

The site is relatively close to the Priors Hall Primary School – and more than 1,000 people now live at nearby Priors Hall Park.

There is already an existing planning permission on the site for a similar use, granted in 2016, although this is for a smaller development and will shortly expire. The approved development would have had a 22m height tower, have burned 195,000 tonnes of waste per year and a larger floorspace.

The site on the Willowbrook industrial estate was heavily contaminated as a landfill for steel works waste, although the application from developers says it was cleaned up in the early 2000s.

The plans have led to objections from local campaigners and a number of Corby councillors have also voiced concerns about the plans.

A meeting to decide on the incinerator is expected in the coming months.