Peer’s call for Sizewell C workers’ homes to be spread out and stay put
PUBLISHED: 15:08 04 March 2017 | UPDATED: 15:08 04 March 2017
A Suffolk peer has made calls for EDF Energy to build lasting homes, rather than temporary accommodation, for workers on the proposed Sizewell C plant.
Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer, Lord Deben, made his point at the AGM of Suffolk Coast Against Retreat in Stratford St Andrew.
Chairman Graham Henderson had opened by declaring “ongoing problems” with information from developers during the second stage of consultation. He said results of investigative work around the effect of constructing a jetty and landing stage had been made available to councils, which were “prevented from sharing information” with the group.
Mr Gummer said it was unaccepted for there to be a barrier in consultation, before suggesting accommodation for workers should be spread through villages, rather than concentrated in a single location. He said the position of housing could have a real affect on our watercourses.
He added that it would be unacceptable for homes to be taken down after construction of the plant, and that permanent structures should be encouraged.
“Using this opportunity, it seems to me, is very important.”
EDF Energy is proposing an accommodation block for up to 2,400 workers off Eastbridge Road,
Andy Smith, Suffolk Coastal’s head of coastal management and chairman of the Joint Local Authorities Group (JLAG), agreed that accommodation was a big issue, and that he shared Mr Gummer’s perception until it became obvious that workers’ housing needs were different. Instead, he believed longer term workers would eventually buy into the local housing market.
Following the meeting, Theberton and Eastbridge Action Group highlighted that both councils had requested a review of alternative sites – including the option of split sites.
Later, guest speaker Therese Coffey, MP for Suffolk Coastal and minister at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said the region had a pioneering approach to challenges of erosion, and balancing the environment with industry.
She said January’s storm surge demonstrated the preparedness of local flood actions groups, which devised response plans in advance of the event, and that residents of some communities had taken advantage of property protection grants to make improvements that would ease their returns home in the event of flooding.