Forest Heath councillors to look at more West Suffolk Operational Hub consultation

08 Sep 2015

Councillors at Forest Heath are being asked to consider a second round of consultation which would give residents across West Suffolk the opportunity to give their views about proposals for a shared waste transfer station, vehicle depot and household waste recycling site.

The West Suffolk Operational Hub is a project involving Forest Heath District Council, Suffolk County Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council as development partners. Forest Heath’s Cabinet will next week consider a report which outlines plans for the second pre-application consultation on the West Suffolk Operational Hub, following concerns raised by those who live nearest to the preferred site for the facility at Hollow Road Farm, Bury St Edmunds. The second pre-application consultation stage will ask communities across West Suffolk to put forward their views on the concept of the Operational Hub and the preferred site at Hollow Road Farm, which can then be taken into account before any formal planning application is made (which would also include further consultation).

Cllr David Bowman, Forest Heath Cabinet member responsible for waste management, said: “This is a joint project which will improve the way we deal with our waste and bring together a number of operations on to one site, making it cheaper and more efficient to run. This second round of consultation will provide a range of technical documents which people can study and then use that information to suggest credible alternatives if they think they are better than Hollow Road Farm.”

Forest Heath Cabinet members will also be asked to recommend investment of £112,000 to progress the project, with Forest Heath Council making the final decision on 14 October.

The West Suffolk Operational Hub is a joint Forest Heath, Suffolk County and St Edmundsbury Borough councils’ project to deliver a:

  • waste transfer station (where waste from refuse freighters collected from across West Suffolk is delivered, transferred into larger vehicles and taken to the Energy from Waste facility in Great Blakenham);
  • vehicle depot (parking and maintenance facilities for the councils’ vehicle fleets);

Household Waste Recycling Centre.

More background details are in these papers (available on the website: Forest Heath: CAB/FH/15/001 dated 17 February 2015 and St Edmundsbury: CAB/SE/15/015 dated 10 February 2015.

The reports include the key drivers and benefits of the hub, including:

  1. the changing nature of waste collection and disposal in Suffolk;
  2. relocating St Edmundsbury’s ageing fleet depot from Western Way in Bury and enabling development on that site;
  3. relocating Forest Heath’s Mildenhall depot and enabling that facility to be put to alternative commercial use;
  4. co-locating with Suffolk County Council’s waste transfer station and Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) increasing operational efficiencies;
  5. meeting the objectives of the Government’s ‘One Public Estate Programme’;
  6. reducing fleet mileage and increasing capacity;
  7. reducing running costs through using modern, efficient facilities on a combined site.

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