Incinerator plans set to be refused?

Artists' impression of the proposed waste incinerator on Wheldon Road, Castleford
Artists' impression of the proposed waste incinerator on Wheldon Road, Castleford

Planning bosses are expected to recommend refusal of controversial plans for a waste incinerator plant in Castleford, the Express can reveal.

A letter from a Wakefield Council planning officer to developers Clean Power Properties and Network Rail Infrastructure says the current application “cannot be supported as it is not found to be in accordance with planning policies or guidance.”

The letter – available on the council’s planning portal – questions the need for the proposed energy recovery centre and outlines concerns about traffic congestion and highway safety.

Plans for the development off Wheldon Road were submitted to the council in February.

The plant would burn up to 195,000 tonnes of industrial and residential waste per year and be in operation 24 hours a day.

Campaigner Alison Drake, chairwoman of Castleford Heritage Trust, said: “This means everything to us who have been campaigning against the proposals because we would have real difficulty fighting them if the officers had recommended approval.

“We’re over the moon that they are of the same view of us and have the same concerns but this is only the first step towards victory.

“We will keep on fighting the plans until the very end.”

More than 1,300 objection letters to the proposal have now been registered on the Wakefield Council website.

Mrs Drake added: “It takes a lot of people to stand up against these planning experts. These people are paid a lot of money to put plans like this together and it takes a lot to get their plans refused.

“I am very proud of the effort that’s been made so far and it just shows the strength of feeling that people have.”

The application is due to be considered at a future meeting of the council’s planning and highways committee.

The plans would include the construction of an advanced conversion technology plant, which would burn waste to produce energy to power 10,000 homes.

A new access road, visitor centre and rail sidings would also be built at the site, which is between Wheldon Road and Healdfield Road.

Protestors successfully fought similar plans for a £40m waste plant on the old Wheldale Colliery site in 2006.

Mrs Drake added: “One thing we learnt from last time is how to challenge developers like this and what arguments to make.

“We have fought before and will carry on fighting these plans just as we have done before.”

A spokesman for Clean Power Properties said: “The applicant team is meeting the council officers in May to discuss the recent letter and remain confident the proposal can be supported.”

A spokesman for Wakefield Council said it did not wish to comment on the plans at this stage.