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1300 sign petition against energy park in Puriton
MORE than 1,300 people have signed a petition against a vast “energy park” in Puriton, arguing it will “destroy” the character of the village and cause traffic chaos up to Bridgwater.
Sedgemoor District Council is due to determine BAE Systems' planning application to develop around 220 acres of the former Royal Ordnance Factory site at Puriton, which closed in March 2008.
The project could include a variety of as-yet-undetermined energy uses, as well as storage and distribution warehouses. BAE says it would create more than 5,000 jobs.
But Puriton villager Bob Hudson, who organised the petition against the scheme, believes it would have terrible consequences.
He said villagers are particularly unhappy that so much land is allocated for storage and distribution.
He said: “The village is up in arms about it.
“We want the site developed because it's been part of the village for 75 years, but not like this.
“It will destroy the village and its character and overload junction 23 (of the M5).
“It's going to be a major problem for Bridgwater as well.”
The petition says that the proposed road route would “effectively finally isolate Puriton, a rural village, from the surrounding countryside, resulting in a suburban ghetto being formed.”
BAE's mammoth planning application, which includes more than 200 separate documents, contains detailed rebuttals of some of the opponents' claims.
BAE says all its proposed uses for the site comply with Sedgemoor District Council's Supplementary Planning Document for the energy park.
And on the traffic issues, it says: “The redevelopment of the site and new access infrastructure presents the opportunity to improve safety and general access to and from the A39 corridor for all users.”
Villagers plan to pass on their petition to Sedgemoor District Council's development control committee before a decision is made.
Whatever happens, it could be a long time before any construction work begins.
According to documents filed with the planning application, remediation work to ensure the site's contaminated land does not pose “an unacceptable risk to the health of future occupants or the environment” may not be completed until 2017.
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