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Protesters to lobby compost plant meeting

PUBLISHED: 07:23 19 March 2009 | UPDATED: 09:32 13 July 2010

Crowds of protesters are expected to flock to Norwich tomorrow to hear if a controversial composting plant planned for a small Norfolk village is given the go ahead

Norfolk Environmental Waste Services (News) hopes to develop the site, which would recycle up to 45,000 tonnes of food and garden waste from homes and businesses each year, at Wood Farm, Marsham, near Aylsham.

Crowds of protesters are expected to flock to Norwich tomorrow to hear if a controversial composting plant planned for a small Norfolk village is given the go ahead

Norfolk Environmental Waste Services (News) hopes to develop the site, which would recycle up to 45,000 tonnes of food and garden waste from homes and businesses each year, at Wood Farm, Marsham, near Aylsham.

The plant, which would replace a smaller composting facility already on the Crane and Sons-owned farm, has attracted strong criticism from homeowners in the surrounding villages who fear the noise, smell and traffic created by the development would make it unbearable to live near.

Proposals, originally submitted in 2007, have already been redrawn in an attempt to placate concerned councillors and villagers.

But last month swarms of objectors signalled their continuing opposition when they attended a county council planning meeting which aimed to decide whether to approve the plans.

Councillors chose to postpone their judgement in order to make a site visit and see how the village would be affected.

Tomorrow the planning committee will once again consider the application - which has been recommended for approval by officers despite going against the area's development policy - and Lesley Willocks, who is spearheading the campaign, hopes the turn-out by protester will once again be strong.

The Marsham villager said: “We are garnering as much support as we possibly can. We have sent a flyer round to every house in the village.”

One of the campaigners' made arguments is that the countryside location is unsuitable and alternative sites, which would cause less disruption to homeowners, were available.

But a News spokesman said it believed Marsham was the best location for the plant. He said: “It is right in the middle of the area from which the compostable waste will come and is also where the treated end produce will be used - on the farmland of Roger Crane in Marsham.”

News said it believed its plans, which include screening, tree planting and quick closing doors, would allow the plant to operate with little or no adverse impact on the surrounding area.

It said the issues of noise and smell had been taken into consideration when designing the plant and lorries visiting the site - averaging 17 journeys a day - would not pass through the village.

If approved by the county council, the plans would then be referred to the secretary of state.


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