By Paul Geater
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
EAST Suffolk should look for more legacy benefits from the construction of Sizewell C – including new homes, hotels, and a guarantee of funding for the four villages by-pass.
That was the message from the county council’s cabinet as it discussed the authority’s response to the consultation documents about the proposed station published by EDF last year.
Local councillor Richard Smith, whose division includes Sizewell and Leiston joined his colleagues in calling for a new A12 by-passing Farnham, Stratford St Andrew, Little Glemham, and Marlesford.
However he said there needed to be much more of a legacy investment in the area.
He was critical of proposals by EDF to build a temporary 3,600-room “campus” on the edge of the site to accommodate construction workers.
“The local community remember back to the 1990s when there was a 1,000-room temporary hostel for Sizewell B. That had a major effect on the area, and this would be much larger.”
He wanted EDF to look at creating smaller units – which would have some permanent homes which could be sold at the end of the construction period.
“We might also have one or two new permanent hotels. There is an area that has been earmarked for a hotel beside the Saxmundham by-pass and another area put aside near Darsham.
“At the end of construction they could be sold on to someone like Travelodge – there is a need for this kind of accommodation in the area and that will increase with Sizewell C in operation.”
Mr Smith also said the idea of building a new road between Saxmundham and Leiston, which was considered during the Sizewell B construction, should be revived.
However neighbouring councillor Colin Hart, whose Framlingham division includes some of the villages beside the A12, warned that making too many demands on EDF could be counter-productive.
He said it was vital that the focus should be on a by-pass for the four villages – and had concerns about requiring them to build new hotels.
He said: “If you do that, you have to find someone to buy them afterwards and if they are not economic you could end up with boarded-up buildings which will just be an eyesore.”
Cabinet member with responsibility for planning and transport Guy McGregor said it was vital that EDF understood the need for improvements to the area if Sizewell C was to be built on the heritage coast.
He said: “EDF seem to think they are carrying out this project in isolation but there are other issues around this as well.
“This work will take several years and will have a major effect on the economy of the area, and will affect tourism and other businesses.”
Mr McGregor said there were doubts about how many materials could be brought in by sea – the weather and the changes to the current could affect this – and that could put more lorries on the roads.
He insisted that the by-pass of the four was necessary, and was backed up by fellow cabinet member Graham Newman who said EDF’s option of a small by-pass from Farnham to Stratford St Andrew was a non-starter.
“That would run from just north of Farnham to the Riverside Centre at Stratford – that is a ridiculous suggestion and should be rejected out of hand,” he said.
The four villages by-pass was vital for all the communities along the A12 and the Waveney district as well.
The cabinet unanimously agreed its response to the consultation which was produced in consultation with Suffolk Coastal council.
While it broadly welcomes the principal of the construction of the power station, it insists that much more must be done for the local area – with the four villages by-pass at the top of the list of demands.