Saltby Farms wants to change the use of part of the airfield to allow the import, storage and export of straw for use at the Sleaford Renewable Energy Plant as regular supplies come in are interrupted.
Melton Borough Council’s planning committee recently postponed a decision on the project because members were concerned about road safety related to the use of the narrow Wyville Road for lorries carrying straw away from the site, before head east to join the A607 just south of Denton.
They highlighted the concerns of many locals who pointed out that there were few crossing places and that cars could be diverted into ditches to avoid large oncoming vehicles carrying straw.
Following the planning committee’s decision, a Saltby Farms spokesperson said: ‘We have always been committed to being part of the local community and are keen to find a way forward with local councilors and parishes.
“As a result, we are happy to adopt the preferred route.
“Although during the planning committee, the officers judged that the planning conditions were not necessary for the request, we are very happy to commit to following the route deemed most appropriate by the parishes and the committee to enable the farm to continue this important piece of work, which not only helps the UK to generate its own energy, but also enables the farm to diversify.
The postponement was welcomed by several opponents, including local resident Jane Page, who told the Melton Times: “As a resident who lives within 100 yards of the main import entrance proposed for operation plaintiff’s bale of straw and who endured years of nuisance. associated heavy goods vehicles which are used to import and export straw to power the Sleaford Biomass Power Station I applaud the committee’s decision to defer judgment on Saltby Airfield Farms retrospective planning application.
“Unfortunately, so far there has been little dialogue between Saltby Estates and the local community in relation to the straw bale operation and its heavyweight movements and I hope the claimant and his team will take this opportunity to listen to our very real concerns.
“The councilors who voted by majority to withhold judgment had visited our area and traveled the routes that could be affected by heavy goods vehicles, it is a relief that they share the views of local residents with regard to the likely negative impact on local road safety and residents, amenities and the environment and that these concerns were not fully addressed and further analysis was required in light of the very real difficulties that heavy goods vehicles would likely cause on narrow roads and country lanes that would be directly affected by this retrospective planning application.”
Planners had recommended council approve the retrospective scheme and Leicestershire and Lincolnshire motorways raised no objections to the HGV route proposals.