Anger as county buys new depot
Bosses at the county were today accused of jumping the gun after it emerged they are spending �4.5 million on a new highways depot on the edge of town.
IPSWICH: Bosses at the county were today accused of jumping the gun after it emerged they are spending �4.5 million on a new highways depot on the edge of town.
The county has bought the former P&O site behind Asda on the Whitehouse Industrial Estate to replace its Great Blakenham site where it wants to build an incinerator.
But no final decision has yet been taken on where - or indeed whether - to build an incinerator to dispose of waste that cannot be recycled.
Suffolk County Council's preferred site is its highways department depot at Great Blakenham - but no final decision has yet been made and the authority is currently in a consultation phase.
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Liberal Democrat deputy leader Andrew Cann said: “If this deal is currently going through that seems very premature - there is still a great deal to be decided before an incinerator goes anywhere, let alone on council land.
“There is no reason for the county to go running off and buying this site before any decisions have been made - they seem to think the whole thing has been decided.”
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The site was bought in February this year and the county council gave itself planning permission to change the use of the depot from a distribution site to a highways depot in August.
Work is currently under way to prepare it for use - although not much conversion work is thought to be needed - and the depot is expected to move there early next year.
Council planning spokesman Guy McGregor said the new site was better placed for council lorries - including gritters and road repair vehicles - than that at Great Blakenham.
“It will be better for us to be based there, but of course the prospect of an energy from waste plant at Blakenham prompted made the move more pressing.
“This site came up and we took advantage of the opportunity,” he said.
If the incinerator was not built, the Highways Agency which has a cramped site next to the Blakenham depot could be interested in taking it over, Mr McGregor added.