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Sandridge digester plan called off

PLANS for a farmyard digester near Melksham have been shelved after a planning officer refused to support the application.

The owners of land near Sandridge Common had applied to build a machine that converts farm waste into renewable gas, but withdrew their application a month before Wiltshire Council was set to vote on it.

The plan, which had caused controversy among people living nearby, was withdrawn on 28th March, four days after a planning officer recommended that councillors refuse to give permission.

The officer said the plan hadn’t done enough to blend the anaerobic digester into the landscape or to make up for the damage building work would cause to the environment.

Their report added, “The development will result in a major adverse effect on the character of the site,” and, “The location of the plant adjacent to the largest solar farm in Wiltshire and the loss of pastoral landscape will contribute to the urbanisation of Melksham’s rural setting.”

The withdrawal will be welcome news to some local people who were angry about the prospect of tractors pulling out onto Sandridge Common, and about potential smells coming from the digester.

Despite residents’ concerns Melksham Without Parish Council, Melksham Town Council and Bromham Parish Council had not objected to the plan. Seend Parish Council did object with concerns about a ‘detrimental impact’ on nearby roads.

To see the plan enter reference 16/12469/WCM in the planning search at www.wiltshire.gov.uk.