RESIDENTS, campaigners and councillors have reacted with joy to the news that plans to build a gigantic incinerator at Barton Stacey have been scrapped.

The Advertiser broke the story online yesterday after approaching Wheelabrator for a comment about why they were delaying their submission of a planning application.

The U.S. firm had thrown a lot of time and resource into pitching the idea of a incinerator built on the A303 but from the get-go it had been controversial.

David Wright, chair of Keep Test Valley Beautiful, has led the community campaign to stop the incinerator from being built.

Speaking to the Advertiser, he said: “We are delighted and relieved that Wheelabrator have taken the decision to terminate their plans to build a waste to energy incinerator in the middle of the Test Valley.

“We have consistently argued that this is the wrong site for this project and we are delighted that our concerns have been listened to and acted on and that our campaign to stop this project has been successful.”

He then thanked the community’s response from getting behind the campaign.

Mr Wright continued: “KTVB has had tremendous support from local residents, environmental groups, local councillors and our regional MPs. The community response objecting to this project has been phenomenal and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have worked so hard to make the case against this proposal and help bring events to the correct conclusion.

“It is wonderful news that we can now go forward without the threat of this inappropriate and damaging project hanging over our heads. Today has been a great day not just for local residents, but for the Test Valley itself and its rare and precious ecology and habitats.”

Test Valley Borough Councillor for Harewood ward, David Drew, echoed the campaign group’s joy.

“I am delighted that Wheelabrator have decided to ‘not go ahead’,” he told the Advertiser.

“I know that both the villages of Barton Stacey and Longparish, plus many other concerned residents who live locally will be absolutely delighted.

“And congratulations to the hard working teams of people who have been pulling together the resistance movement. The KTVB group have done so much to highlight the issues and problems that this would have created if it would have gone through.”

Cllr Drew also noted that he was only ‘half-surprised’ at Wheelabrator’s U-turn, as the company had missed a number of meetings with planners and other bodies in recent months.

“They had meetings planned with Test Valley Borough Council planners in both January and February, and both of those were pulled. And they pulled a meeting with the KTVB group in February,” he said.

“They have probably got better things which are more likely to come to conclusion.”

He added: “There were signs there that this was something too big to chew that they had bitten off.”

North West Hampshire MP Kit Malthouse has also expressed his satisfaction of the news.

“This is great news and a tribute to the community’s campaign against this project,” he told the Advertiser.

“I made my opposition to the incinerator clear to the government and Wheelabrator from the start and I have worked closely with my neighbouring MP Caroline Nokes, in whose constituency the incinerator was to be built and who has done sterling work inside and outside Parliament to support the campaign.”

Cllr Phil North, leader of the borough council, which formally opposed to the proposal last year, added: “I am delighted to hear the news that Wheelabrator have dropped their proposals for the incinerator on the edge of Harewood, which was in completely the wrong place.

“The structure would have been a massive eyesore on the edge of the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.”