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Planners: say yes to energy plants in Keighley
Plans for a £120 million ‘clean energy’ complex in Keighley – which will bring about 500 jobs to the town – are due to be given the green light.
The massive scheme will go before Bradford councillors today, with a recommendation from planners that it be approved.
Officers – in a report to be presented to the regulatory and appeals committee – say the project would regenerate a brownfield site, provide a source of renewable energy and give the area a huge employment boost.
Leading community figures have also welcomed the proposals.
But objections have been raised by residents living close to the site and by the National Trust, which owns nearby East Riddlesden Hall.
Three plants for recycling waste would be constructed on the derelict former gasworks site in Airedale Road, alongside the Aire Valley trunk road at Marley.
The initiative would also include an education and visitor centre, plus a two-storey office building, parking and landscaping.
And a data-storage centre and offices would be built on land in nearby Dalton Lane.
Already-processed commercial and industrial waste would be brought to the plants, which together will be capable of producing 80,000,000 kWh of electricity a year.
Keighley Central councillor and Lord Mayor of Bradford Khadim Hussain said the scheme would be “excellent news” for the town and Bradford district.
“It will be good for the environment, help with the regeneration of the area and create employment,” he added.
Keighley MP Kris Hopkins said: “The Keighley economy has been improving steadily for some time and this scheme has the potential to move the pace of recovery up a gear.
“It has my full support and I hope – if approved – the construction stage can begin as swiftly as possible, creating a great many vital jobs for the area.” But residents living in The Croft, at Thwaites, are concerned about the potential visual impact of the scheme, fumes, noise and health and safety issues.
Julie Wood, who has lived there since the houses were built six years ago, said: “We are all very upset about this.
“The site is about 150 metres away. There is going to be a tower and plume of smoke right in view of every house.
“There will also be a lot of noise and there are safety issues as well.”
The National Trust says despite the applicant – the Halton Group – amending the position of the plant’s proposed chimney stack, the charity remains “extremely concerned” about the potential visual impact of that and the smoke on the 17th century property and its grounds.
Council officers recommend any planning approval should be subject to a Section 106 agreement, by which the trust would receive funding for tree planting.
Agent for the plans, John Steel, of JO Steel Consulting, said: “A very comprehensive report, which addresses all the issues, is going before the committee and we will await the decision of the members.”
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