Parish Council representatives Tony Leathart and Sylvia Brown shared the daily attendance at the two week Keypoint Enquiry at the Steam Museum that ended last week. They were able to appear and speak most days on matters ranging from pollution risk and visual impact, to the likelihood of HGV traffic congestion within and outside of the Keypoint estate.
One of the most hotly-debated aspects were the benefits, claimed by the developers, from the planned use of the rail terminal for transporting feedstock to the plant. This proposal was brought forward just before the appeal started and was not in the original application. The Parish Council was able to show that the likelihood of this ever happening was extremely small and no significant weight should be given to the claim.
The inspector’s report will probably not be produced until late spring.
All told, our two stalwart representatives spent more than 40 hours at the enquiry, which involved accompanying the inspector at the day-long site visit in the pouring rain and the challenge of getting to the enquiry on the Friday morning when the snow was at its worst.
The snow also meant no deliveries had reached the Steam museum or any of the food outlets in the vicinity. Attendees had to make do with day-old sandwiches rescued from the bin by the Steam caretaker! At the end of the day, participants helped dig each other out of the car park as the snow had continued to fall.
The appeal opened on Tuesday 22nd January with well over 100 people attending. The first speakers included South Marston Parish Councillor Tony Leathart who raised:
The visual impact of the 170ft high chimney on the rural aspect of our village
The risk that pollution from the process would not be possible to control effectively
The likelihood of HGVs queuing on the approach to the site, with the risk of congestion on roads inside and outside the Keypoint site
The lack of sufficient waste from the local area, requiring transit from too wide an area into the site.
On the last point, Rolton Kilbride had submitted further documents claiming that additional waste could be brought in by train from a wider area with no resulting impact on local traffic. Their proposal was to bring trains into the rail link site, offload using HGVs which would then travel on the roads internal to the Keypoint site to be unloaded at the plant.
Our representative stated that this was simply not practical – only a few trains had ever been brought into the rail-link and there was no confirmation that Network Rail would give permission for use of the main line track access. Furthermore, the HGVs working adjacent to the rail-link siding within the Keypoint would impact severely on access by existing occupiers, particularly Honda’s deliveries and those warehouses involved in supplying Honda’s ‘just-in-time’ production operation.
The full appeal response from South Marston Parish Council can be viewed here.
The appeal continues on Tuesday 29th January at the Steam museum, beginning each day from 9.30 a.m.