Q Where is the plant application sited?
The site is on available land at Keypoint 145, Thornhill Road, Swindon, Wiltshire SN3 4RY.
Q What was the former use of the site?
The site was previously part of the South Marston aerodrome, which also provided the land for the Honda plant to the north.
Q Why has the Keypoint site been selected?
The site at Keypoint is located in an industrial area and large enough to accommodate the proposed Renewable Energy Centre. This is in line with the Waste Core Strategy, which makes provision for locations for energy from waste facilities on non-allocated sites that are within industrial land or allocated for employment. The Strategy also sets out that strategic waste facilities should be sited within 16 km of Swindon so that waste can be treated close to its origins, avoiding unnecessary transportation. Its position close to main roads means that that associated traffic will not need to run close to or through residential areas, while being near enough to Swindon to make it accessible. In addition, the site has been allocated in the Swindon Local Plan as an employment site – and the REC will employ up to 20 people, with another 10 through the supply chain. Finally, Keypoint is close to industrial and commercial companies with potential to become customers for the heat or energy.
Q Have any other alternative sites been considered?
Other sites were considered within the Swindon area. However, the application site is appropriately located within an industrial area, is relatively remote from residential properties. It is in an area that is not environmentally sensitive, with no statutory protected nature conservation or heritage sites within or in close proximity to the site; there is a tree preservation order on the trees, which are planned to be part of the site’s landscaping scheme. Furthermore, the site is in close proximity to the strategic road network and to industrial development, which could potentially be recipients of the generated heat and/or electricity.
Q What do local planning policies say about the selected site?
The site is compliant with the Waste Core Strategy, which makes provisions for non-allocated (or new) sites for waste treatment provided they are for energy from waste, and set in industrial areas or allocated for employment. The strategy also states that strategic waste facilities should be within 16km of Swindon. Finally, the Swindon Local Plan allocates the site as a potential employment site. Keypoint fulfils all these conditions.
Q Who is responsible for granting planning permission?
Swindon Borough Council is the responsible Local Authority. Once the planning application has been submitted, the Council will consult with statutory consultees to seek their views on the proposed development. Members of the public will also have an opportunity to contact the Council to state their views. The Case Officer will consider the details of the planning application and how it complies with the policies of the statutory development plan, and other considerations including the views of the statutory consultees and members of the public. The Council will then prepare a report to inform the planning committee of the details of the application and make a recommendation as to whether the proposals should be granted planning permission or not, and state the reasons why.
Q What size would it be?
The Renewable Energy Centre main building will be approximately 88m long and 73m wide, with the highest point of the roof 24m above ground level. The Turbine Hall will measure approximately 30m long by 15m wide x 15.6m high and a Gatehouse 5m long x 3m wide x 3m high. There will be other structures and plant, which will generally be located adjacent to the main building. The flue stack will measure 52m high.
The industrial warehouse will measure around 52m long x 45m wide x 17.1m high and be accompanied by a Gatehouse measuring around 5m long x 3m wide x 3m high.
There will be other buildings on site, but these will be smaller by comparison.
The size of the buildings is set into context against other buildings in the location.