'Monster incinerator' could derail plans for Metro extension to Washington, Sunderland City Council warned

Fears have been raised a possible extension of the Metro to Washington could be derailed if plans for what has been dubbed a ‘monster incinerator’ are given the green-light.

Thursday, 18th July 2019, 1:23 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th July 2019, 9:19 pm
Washington 'monster incinerator' protesters

The plant would use a process which uses high temperatures to break down waste without combustion.

But the site, at Hillthorn Farm, is bordered by the former Leamside Line, which transport bosses have suggested could be brought back into use to extend the rail line south from Pelaw Metro Station.

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Washington 'monster incinerator' protesters

According to a report on the incinerator scheme: “In light of renewed studies of the potential of the Leamside line corridor for Metro extensions and Northern Powerhouse Rail, Nexus seeks to retain the site of the former Usworth station for potential future rail related land uses.

It added: “[The North East Combined Authority (NECA) has] noted that the development would be likely to prevent the provision of a station at this specific location on the Leamside line.”

The former Usworth Station lies about 250m from the site applicant Rolton Kilbride has suggested for the plant.

The report for members of Sunderland City Council’s Planning and Highways Committee notes a new station could include car parking and footbridges.

But it also concedes there are ‘no known or firm proposals available from the NECA, Network Rail or Nexus’ to reopen the Leamside Line.

Planning officers have recommended the scheme be approved.

Sunderland Conservatives leader Coun Robert Oliver group urged decision-makers to ‘make up their own mind free from party discipline’.

He added: “There are a number of serious concerns that need to be cleared up if the application is to be approved in an area where there is already residential property alongside many industrial units.

“If planning permission is granted, Sunderland Conservatives fear that the proposed incinerator could put the extension of the Metro to Washington, which Sunderland Conservatives support, in peril.”

A spokesperson for Rolton Kilbride said: “We welcome the fact that this application has undergone thorough scrutiny and look forward to the result of the committee with interest.”