CALLS to create an action group have been made to help residents fight developers head-on over plans for a proposed biomass plant in North Swindon.

Pure Green, the company behind the new plant, has not announced what it intends to do next with its application to build at a site in Cheney Manor.

Two weeks ago Swindon Council’s planning committee deferred its decision on whether the low-carbon energy and animal bedding company should be allowed to build a new biomass plant, which would include a 30-metre chimney, at the Cheney Manor Industrial Estate.

Councillor Des Moffatt hopes to unite a cross-section of the community to work as one steering group to ensure if the developers do come back with either a reduced application or if they take the matter to the planning inspectorate, then the residents will be ready.

“We cannot just sit around and wait for them to do something otherwise we will discover ourselves in the same situation where we were in again – short for time,” said Coun Moffatt, who represents Rodbourne Cheney ward.

He said because the application has been with the council for an extended period the developer could divert it to the planning inspectorate as a non-determination.

“We need to have all our ducks in a row to make sure this application is heard in public. We will have to demonstrate enough public interest,” said Coun Moffatt.

He would like anyone in the community with knowledge of planning laws or who is a former environmental officer to come forward to join the steering group. It is hoped there will be cross-party support for the group with councillors from neighbouring wards, Conservative and Labour alike, joining forces to fight the proposal.

“We need to have our plans in place and the credible people to make their case,” said Coun Moffatt.

Under the plans, Pure Green, which is an off-shoot of a company called Hippofan, has applied to demolish the existing warehouse at the former SquareD factory and build an animal bedding and wood pellet processing plant and a biomass.

It plans to produce 50,000 tonnes of animal bedding and wood pellets annually derived from virgin timber stocks.