Durham county councillors say no to controversial plans for Consett 'incinerator'

By James Robinson

Residents of a County Durham town are celebrating after the county council's planning committee unanimously voted to reject plans for an energy centre in the area.

Consett residents had been up in arms about plans to build the site on Hownsgill Industrial Park, close to the town centre.

The facility was described as an incinerator locally and generated concern that the town was heading back to its more industrial past.

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However, on Tuesday morning the plans, submitted by the Project Genesis trust, were voted down unanimously.

It follows a large protest by the campaign group No to the Consett Incinerator at the site on Monday, ahead of a visit by the council's planning committee.

Christine Thomas, who helped organise the protest, thanked all those involved for their efforts.

She said: "Obviously it's fabulous news. The community has worked really hard together and we would just like to thank everybody who has supported us - the community, the businesses, and the schools.

"Everybody has really pulled together. It was a unanimous decision which is quite unusual.

It could go to appeal, so we don't want to celebrate too much - but I think we have made a very good cause for it not being here. "

Consett's Liberal Democrat councillors, who attended Monday's protest, have also reacted positively.

Consett Liberal Democrat councillors Kathryn Rooney and Dominic Haney at a protest by residents against plans for an energy centre in the town (Newcastle Chronicle)

Cllr Dominic Haney, who represents Consett South, Moorside and The Grove – where the incinerator was to be built – said: "“This is a huge win for our town.

"The people of Consett have spoken with one voice against these devastating plans, and the Council have rightfully listened.

“This just shows that when a community comes together it can achieve its aims.

“We can only hope that the applicant now does the right thing and does not appeal the decision."

His colleague Kathryn Rooney, who represents Consett North and Blackhill, added: "I am absolutely delighted to have played a role in the collective effort to have the waste burner plan sent up in smoke.

“The Liberal Democrats will continue to stand up for our town and are ready to keep fighting if the applicant decides to force this through via the Planning Inspectorate."

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