AFTER MONTHS of speculation news has emerged of intentions to build on the former Hedon airfield site to the west of Hedon/Preston South and – according to the reports – create 700 new jobs.
Councillor John Dennis reported at a Preston Parish Council meeting last night, that Hull City Council have awarded sole-negotiating rights on the land to a company who intend to build a biomas power plant, that would supply an eco-park consisting of a fish-farm and agriculture units.
The new company that will mange the project is Lateral Eco Parks Hull Ltd which was incorporated in March this year by Chester-based Lateral Power.
The biomass power station would burn wood chips imported from North America which would generate the electricity to power the fish farms and horticulture greenhouses. Lateral Power describe themselves on their website as “experts in biomass procurement and distribution” but at last night’s meeting Councillor Dennis felt that the scheme appeared “bonkers” and described the new proposed facility as an “all-singing, fancy-dancing cucumber plant!”
The incredulity of Councillor Dennis is probably understandable considering that the new company has done nothing yet to speak to local people or representatives about the plans, despite all three East Riding Ward Councillors declaring publicly that they wished to be kept informed of any developments proposed for the old aerodrome site.
Hull City Council own the aerodrome land but the East Riding Council is responsible for dealing with any planning applications there. Councillor Dennis said, “Whilst Hull City Council can’t simply do what they want on they site they are a powerful organisation. I’m hopeful that the East Riding Council will dig their heels in and abide by previous planning decisions that have recommended the site is unsuitable for future development.”
Councillor Dennis also was also doubtful over claims that the 700 jobs created would go to local people, but instead he felt they would more likely benefit seasonal migrant workers.
The first personal reactions from Preston Parish Councillors at last night’s meeting also revealed concerns over the news. Councillor Barbara Mendham who represents Preston South said she was “horrified” at hearing the news, whilst Chair Councillor Janet Weatherill said she “would not want to see a continuous stream of industry from Hull to our boundary.”
The recent media announcements and early responses seem to indicate that the ‘phoney war’ over the potential development of the Hedon aerodrome site is over – and the real political battle is only just beginning!