Campaigners say they are appalled and disgusted that a huge energy plant powered by waste will be built on their doorstep

People in Stratton St Margaret and South Marston now face the prospect of the enormous complex - which some call an incinerator, although the developer disputes that description - being put up near their homes after Rolton Kilbride’s planning appeal was upheld by government inspector Melvyn Middleton

The company’s plans for the site were turned down unanimously by members of Swindon Borough Council’s planning committee in 2017, but it appealed, and now has the go-ahead to build the generator.

It will work by shipping in tonnes of domestic waste and heating it to produce combustible gas, which will be converted to power.

Barbara Parker, 60, lives in Hatherall Close, which will be overlooked by the incinerator’s 52 metre chimney stack.

She said: “I’m appalled. This is a disgusting decision. We already have to put up with the noise of the A419, nothing’s been done about that for 20 years, and now we’re going to have to have this.

“I was at the meetings in Steam and the company’s legal team were horrible- very rude to councillors and residents.

"I don’t know what this will do to property prices in this area, I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to sell our houses.”

Further along the street Ann Rose, 74 said: “It’s disgusting. We’ll have all the fumes being pumped into the air. I feel not enough was done to stop it.”

While the plant is due to be constructed in the industrial area of Keypoint industrial estate off Thornhill Road, the expansion of houses in South Marston will bring residential areas much closer.

Jane and John Davies live in the village. Mr Davies said: “We’ve been badly let down. They said they’d take it to the government if it was voted down here, and they have, and they’ve got the decision.”

Mrs Davies added: “We were near Exeter a few weeks back and there’s a massive incinerator there - it’s a monstrosity. I’m disgusted that someone is going to be allowed to build one here.”

Borough council deputy leader Russell Holland is a ward councillor for Stratton St Margaret.

He said the authority wasn’t just going to accept the decision: “I think this is the wrong decision. Every council planning officer recommended the plan be refused, every councillor voted against it - now that’s been overturned by an inspector from London who does not have to answer to the people of Swindon.

“I have already spoken to colleagues and we will be taking legal advice as to whether there’s any mileage in challenging this decision.

"We have to see what that advice is before taking further steps.”

Robert Ayres, chairman of the campaign group Stop the Keypoint Incinerator Project, was disappointed but not downhearted: “It seems that some of the serious concerns we have had have made it into the conditions of the approval.

“Rolton Kilbride have to demonstrate to the borough council that this incinerator will contribute to reducing overall carbon emissions, and I don’t know how they intend to do that.

“But it is a very disappointing decision, that doesn’t really seem to have taken the concerns of people very seriously. But it’s not 100 per cent bad.”

Rolton Kilbride said in a statement: “We welcome the inspector’s conclusion. It is our view that this appeal should not have had to take place. However, we understand that councils have a difficult job in making these decisions and balancing different points of view.

“There exists a large amount of misinformation regarding energy from waste facilities. This appeal has shone a light on some of these myths.

“Planning applications for large infrastructure projects must be given the fullest consideration possible, ensuring that all information is factual and based on an accurate understanding of the technology.

“Rolton Kilbride want to be a good and considerate neighbour and have worked with the Bodleian Library to address their concerns.

"We have said, from the outset of the process, that we are committed to working with the community, and that remains the case.

“The UK economy depends on a safe, clean and secure supply of energy and we are committed to do all we can to support business in Swindon, ensuring that renewable energy is as the heart of Swindon’s industry.”