£1bn incinerator “replay” meeting hurriedly set-up for May 15

Sutton Council’s anxiety to push through proposals to build a waste incinerator in the midst of a highly populated residential area in Beddington Lane was demonstrated today with the announcement that a further development control committee meeting will be staged on May 15.

Smoke stackLast month, the same committee was split on the issue, with the chairman John Leach deferring any decision.

Some had suggested that, given the usually slow pace that such matters progress at local councils, it might not be until late June at the earliest before the committee would re-convene to consider the arguments. Any further delays, over the summer break, would then risk the decision being reviewed by incoming administrations after next year’s local elections.

But with a £1 billion public contract on the table for Viridor to operate the waste incinerator for four south-west London boroughs – Sutton, Merton, Croydon and Kingston – such delays apparently cannot be risked.

As Inside Croydon reported earlier today, the council officers’ keenness to get a firm decision on the incinerator was demonstrated at the end of the previous meeting, when they tried to coerce Leach, as chairman, to exercise his casting vote.

As our report, with the somewhat embarrassing piece of audio, was being posted online, Peter Snow, the principal committee manager at Sutton, was distributing an email to interested parties, outlining some quite restrictive requirements.

Snow wrote: “The application will be considered again on 15 May by the same members. Those persons, and only those persons, who addressed the meeting on 24 April will be given the opportunity to do so again for a maximum of four minutes.”

Speakers will only be allowed to talk about information in a “supplementary report”.

The brief note had all the hallmarks of the council civil servants “managing” events in order to ensure the desired outcome – just not the outcome that very many residents desire.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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