07:37 Thursday 8th September 2011
Peterborough Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
PAUL STAINTON: Plans to redevelop the Moy’s End of the London Road football stadium were approved this week, despite a number of councillors asking for the decision to be delayed. Residents had voiced concerns about the potential pollution that could be created by that big chimney that will be installed on the ground. But councillors voted in favour of the plans by 6 votes to 4. Councillor Nigel North chaired the meeting, and voted in favour. He joins us now. Morning Nigel.
NIGEL NORTH: Good morning.
PAUL STAINTON: So you dismissed all these concerns, and thought, well, we’ll go ahead anyway.
NIGEL NORTH: No we didn’t dismiss them. It was one of the big concerns I had when I walked into the meeting, was the local residents. With three specific issues, one was the visual impact of the chimney, two the output of the chimney, and three any noise made by the generator.
PAUL STAINTON: So what persuaded you to vote in favour then?
NIGEL NORTH: Well we looked at some pictures, an artist’s impression. And the chimney was considerably lower than the existing stand. So I felt that .. and it didn’t .. it sticks up a little bit from the new stand, but it doesn’t .. I don’t think it’s very obtrusive.
PAUL STAINTON: It’s lower than the stand? Because we were led to believe it might be as high as the floodlights.
NIGEL NORTH: We didn’t get a height for the floodlights, but it is lower than the existing stand. And the nice thing is I think the area will actually be improved by this bright new stand, rather than the tired one that’s sitting there now.
PAUL STAINTON: A number of the councillors wanted the plans delayed though, didn’t they?
NIGEL NORTH: Well they did. And I didn’t really see the benefit to be honest. We looked at the noise levels, which is going to be a maximum of 42 decibels during the day, whereas the background level is 62 decibels. So in essence you won’t be able to hear it. So that was one thing that I was comfortable with. The other thing I was concerned about was what came out of the chimney, was it going to be sooty deposits, so someone sitting in their garden come in looking like a coal miner or something. Or their vegetables, been in people’s gardens, beautiful vegetables growing there, would they be in danger. But nitrogen dioxide is going to be coming out of the chimney, so we’re informed. So that will not .. that’s a known pollutant for want of a better word, that is well within known limits, and is not considered a problem. So yes, I couldn’t see any reason for delaying it. People talked about trying to go and see one similar nearby, but realistically what are you going to see? You’re going to see a chimney and a building, and that’s it. I didn’t actually see any benefit.
PAUL STAINTON: So Posh fans are happy, Chairman Darragh McAnthony is happy, but not everyone is. Audrey Chalmers is from the South Grove Community Association. We talked to you a couple of weeks ago Audrey, and you were almost apoplectic. How are you now?
AUDREY CHALMERS: I’m disappointed that the Planning Committee didn’t take the opportunity they had of compromising with the residents. Nothing was said about the cost. £5.5 million is going into the development of this STEM centre, but how much of that is going to be the boiler? And they didn’t say anything about the times of delivery for the woodchips. Are they going to be coming in early in the morning, and annoy the residents with the lorries coming in? And they didn’t say anything about delaying it, even if it was only for a short time. They could have given permission for the STEM Centre, and said we will give permission for the other on condition that we see one, we get to look at it, and the residents are happy. In the Conservative planning, they’ve got neighbourhood planning, which the Government are taking through Parliament at the moment. And part of the neighbourhood planning is keeping the residents happy, and giving them a say in what’s happening. Here the residents have been constantly shut out, the whole of the time. And no, I’m very disappointed with the decision. It could have gone through better with more information about costs, about times of delivery, and about letting people see the Centre. They’ve lost a wonderful opportunity of being neighbourhood friendly. And talking about pollution, what’s wrong with people in that area wanting to preserve their quality of life?
PAUL STAINTON: Are you not convinced by what Nigel said about the levels of polllution and noise?
AUDREY CHALMERS: Well would it have hurt them to delay that part of the application for three months, until people were absolutely satisfied?
PAUL STAINTON: Nigel, could you have done that?
NIGEL NORTH: We obviously could. We’re empowered to do what we need to do. And the important thing is as I’ve already said that we did consult local residents. Very few local residents came back and had major problems. But there were some, and that’s why it was considered so important to look at every detail. And when I walked into the meeting, I wasn’t sure which way I was going to vote at all. I wanted to look at the concerns, and to speak to the experts, and to make sure that this facility would not be detrimental to local residents, which I think is of greatest import, because they’re the people who have to live with that.
AUDREY CHALMERS: Could I just say something Paul please?
PAUL STAINTON: Yes. Sure.
AUDREY CHALMERS: The reason why there was not a lot of local residents there is because they were all saying to me, oh they’re going to do it anyway. What’s the point in making a problem? What’s the point in saying anything? They’ve decided. Why should we bother? The residents are totally disillusioned down there.
PAUL STAINTON: You just heard Nigel say he hadn’t made his mind up one way or another Audrey.
AUDREY CHALMERS: He had made his mind up. I’m sorry. He couldn’t have voted that way. He would have voted for deferring for three months, that part of it. It didn’t have to be all of it. They could have got their go-ahead on condition the residents were happy. Instead, they just said .. I went to them consultations in the football ground, and they were abysmal, they were awful. There was nobody there who knew anything.
PAUL STAINTON: Nigel, so it’s got the go-ahead now. Do we know about time-frames? Do we know when it’s all going to start?
NIGEL NORTH: I don’t know at the moment. That’s for the developer. Our job was to either give or refuse planning permission. One we’ve done that, then obviously they can develop in theory within the next three years, but I would expect it to start a lot sooner than that.
PAUL STAINTON: Thank you for that Nigel. Nigel North, who Chaired the Planning Meeting, voted in favour of approving the plans for the Moy’s End. Audry Chalmers is from the South Grove Community Association, not a happy chick this morning. Darragh McAnthony says “I’m glad.” This is on his Tweet, his Twitter account. “I’m glad planning permission was given. I can’t believe it only squeezed over the line, and that so many councillors voted against it. Nothing’s ever easy.”