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The EpiCentre hosts a public meeting to object to nearby plans for an anaerobic digestion plant

Last Friday evening (20th October), The EpiCentre played host to a public meeting for the Withersfield village and Haverhill community to air their opposition to the proposed anaerobic digestion plant north of Spring Grove Farm, Withersfield, Haverhill.

Over 100 residents and members of the business community were addressed by the head of ‘Muck Off Acorn‘ opposition group Indy Wijenayaka, who is also the ward councillor for Withersfield and portfolio holder for Growth at West Suffolk Council.

Andrew Bell, centre manager of The EpiCentre, said: “we are seriously concerned that the risk of significant smells from the plant across the immediate location could drive business away from the centre. This makes no sense whatsoever; since we opened in 2020, we have established the centre as a major employment hub creating jobs for over 140 people in some 30 companies, whereas the digestion plant would employ just five people.”

 “The EpiCentre has become established, not only in the business community with its direct business support and key networking opportunities, but also in the local community – hosting meetings, this one included, and with wider charitable events and support.”

 Indy Wijenayaka, said: “The application put forward by Acorn and the Thurlow Estate has extremely detrimental impacts on the residents, and businesses alike, and particularly for the EpiCentre. If this application is approved the impact on growth to the area will be unacceptable. The EpiCentre plays a vital role in attracting innovative, hi-tech and high value businesses to this area, these are the types of businesses that are vital to West Suffolk’s growth strategy, and we must ensure this is continued, therefore we must oppose the plans put forward by Acorn and the Thurlow Estate. I hope that Suffolk County Council can see the imperative in refusing this application.  “

 The meeting raised a host of objections to the plant including:

  • Hundreds of lorry movements, many through Withersfield Village every week
  • Increased air pollution and traffic on the A1307
  • Industrial sized unit built on a flood plain with potentially dangerous contaminated run off.
  • Delivery of lorry loads of chicken manure and other waste to the edge of town.
  • Risk of significant smell across the entire town
  • Possible limitation of Haverhill’s future development plans

Jaynic, the owner of The EpiCentre building had already commissioned its own expert’s report on the negative impact the plant would have. Michael Bull & Associates, consultants in air quality and odour assessment, concluded: “The EpiCentre is a high-quality facility consisting of offices, laboratories, and meeting rooms with business support. A key requirement for these activities is to provide a high level of amenity to clients and it would be extremely detrimental to their business should unpleasant odours be present at any time.”

For further information at Muck Off Acorn and how to object – see the Muck Off Acorn website 

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Update – 11 August 2022

Our Innovation Centres remain operational and accessible, and provide a safe environment for our staff and customers. We continue to assess the risk of COVID-19 alongside the latest guidance from government. In the meantime our Innovation Centre remains COVID-19 Secure and fully open for business. Our detailed risk assessment can be found here.