Villagers campaigning over recycling plant plan win support of their MP

Alistair Burt
Alistair Burt
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A campaign by villagers to prevent a recycling plant being built on historic farmland has gained the support of their MP.

North East Bedfordshire MP Alistair Burt has confirmed he is backing the concerns of villagers living in Thurleigh, who fear the planned plant will ruin the surrounding environment.

In its planning application submitted to Bedford Borough Council, Growing Beds Ltd proposes to move its current operation based in Ravensden, to Coplar Farm, Thurleigh, and double its capacity.

Mr Burt said: “I’ve been contacted by very concerned residents and I understand their concerns.

“As an MP, it’s not my role to judge between the two sites but I can act on behalf of my constituents.

“I will be writing to Bedford Borough Council to ask them to take a hard look at the application.”

Mr Burt said his main concerns are the plant will be built on a greenfield site, and the request to increase capacity goes against the council’s own research which shows the county has adequate green waste recycling capacity up to 2028.

The planning application, submitted in April, proposes 49 tonnes of municipal, commercial and industrial waste will be processed annually.

Cliff Smith has lived at Coplar Farm for the past 62 years and is part of the Stop Grow Beds Campaign.

Having visited the Ravensden site, he said the application is “an absolute disgrace.”

He said: “If this gets built, the prevailing winds will spread dust, dirt and smells across the village, which is less than a mile away.

“And the proposed entrance is on a dangerous bend which is sided by a high bank.”

He is also questioning the distance of the proposed plant from his home, which he believes is less than 250m.

He said: “When people say not in my back yard, this is literally in my back yard!”

Bedford Borough Council has received 138 public comments about the application from people living in Thurleigh and the surrounding villages.

The Stop Grow Beds Campaign is urging those affected by the plans to write to the council by Friday, May 30.

Growing Beds Ltd and its agent Philips Planning Services Ltd declined to comment.

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