FORMER Stroud MP David Drew has told how he was ‘kept in the dark’ about Javelin Park being a potential site for an incinerator during his time in office.
Mr Drew was the first to give evidence at the planning inquiry into the proposed £500 million Javelin Park incinerator project today, Tuesday.
The inquiry is being held after waste firm Urbaser Balfour Beatty appealed the decision by Gloucestershire County Council’s planning committee to refuse permission for the controversial facility in March.
Speaking on Tuesday, January 14, in front of a packed out function room adjacent to the Hallmark Hotel in Matson where the appeal proceedings are being held, Mr Drew said that during his time as MP he was ‘kept completely in the dark’ despite consistent attempts to find out what was going on.
Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Stroud, Mr Drew, said: “I tried to find out why suddenly there appeared to be some interest shown over Javelin Park as a potential site.
“I was kept completely in the dark and indeed more than once was assured that the county council had no particular interest in purchasing the site.
Mr Drew, who is also a Stonehouse town councillor, added: “Stonehouse sought regular updates and assurances from the county council as soon as it became known that Javelin Park was its preferred site.
“We have had absolutely no contact from the county council outside of the statutory requirements and even then people in the town have complained to me about the way in which that has operated.
“This is at best a negation of democracy and given the importance of this issue to all those residents living locally there should have been proper attempts made to listen to what councils on behalf of their residents had to say.
“We are now today faced with what I have called the worst decision I have even known in over 30 years of front-line politics in local government, with a site that is not suitable, a technology that is not wanted and an authority that is both incompetent and devious in how it carries outs its business.”
Speaking on behalf of Stonehouse Town Council, Mr Drew also voiced concerns about transport issues and visual impact.
“Quite simply the proposal is both unsustainable in terms of good transport planning and will be entirely a threat to the community of Stonehouse and the villages along the B4008 as volumes increase, especially of HGVs,” he said.
“However, our primary reason for opposition is the visual impact.
“The view across from the AONB to the Severn Vale and beyond is stunning.
“It is sacrilegious to spoil this view especially with a stack that at 70 metres high will dominate the landscape for miles around.
“This plant would forever change this part of the vale and we feel that this area has already made enough sacrifices for this proposal to be anything other than entirely unfair and damaging to all this part of Gloucestershire stands for.”
The inquiry continues.