Fears over extra traffic in Market Harborough after £8m power plant is approved

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Plans for an £8 million plant to turn crops into bio-gas near Market Harborough have been passed amid jeers of “shame on you” by protestors.

Villagers living near the plant told the Mail that many of the expected 80 extra lorries a day will have to drive through Market Harborough to get to the plant, just a couple of miles down the A508 at Wormslade Farm, Kelmarsh.

A total of 350 residents in Clipston, Great Oxendon, Arthingworth and Harrington had objected to Raw Biogas Limited’s plans for the 13-acre facility.

They described the decision as “shocking and disgraceful”, adding that the plant will have “a huge impact on Market Harborough”.

Protesters said they will fight the decision.

The company wanted to build a plant processing 46,000 tonnes of manure and crops in order to produce enough bio-methane to power 2,500 homes an hour.

But Clipston Parish Council objected on the grounds the plant would be half-a-mile from Grade I-listed Kelmarsh Hall and close to the edge of Naseby battlefield and the Brampton Valley Way.

On Tuesday night, the plan was approved by a majority vote at Northamptonshire County Council’s development control committee, providing a number of amendments were made to the scheme.

But before the decision was taken, ten residents spoke out against the plan at the County Hall meeting. Many cited how dangerous the thin access road to the plant, Clipston Road, would be. Reports to the committee show there could be as many as 80 traffic movements in and out of the site day.

Others were worried about the risk of odour from the plant drifting across surrounding villages.

Governor of Clipston Primary School, Steven Woodgate, said: “This application is totally without merits. It has got the potential to cause severe injury or worse to members of our community. At key times the pavements around the school are extremely busy.

“In simple terms we consider the village road is totally inappropriate and dangerous.”

Stuart Homewood, for Raw Biogas Limited, spoke in favour of the plans, saying it would provide Northamptonshire with a source of low carbon energy for years.

He said: “We firmly believe the chosen site is an excellent location, If successful our firm will be operating this plant for 25 years.

“We will build up a trust with the local community with time.”

The decision to grant the plant was met with jeers of “shame on you” from the public gallery.

A previous plan for a wind turbine on the farm site was rejected by planners in 2013.