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Campaign to block incinerator on Croydon/Sutton border gets eleventh hour reprieve after cash appeal

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ACTIVISTS hoping to block plans for an incinerator in Beddington Lane feared their case would collapse just 48 hours before it was due to be heard in the high court.

The Stop the Incinerator campaign faced going up in smoke on Tuesday when a donor who had pledged £5,000 pulled out.

It meant the group were unable to fund the legal fees for the judicial review against Sutton Council and developers Viridor.

But, in a frantic few hours, they were able to raise the money they needed thanks to an internet appeal and generous donations.

Shasha Khan, leading the campaign, said the group had managed to collect more than £5,000 and the case, due to begin on Thursday, could continue, though more funds are needed.

He said: "I'm not able to say what happened to the donation but when we found out it wasn't coming through we were really flat.

"I felt a considerable strain on my shoulders and I worried it was over.

"Our only chance was to go online, call in some favours and hope for the best. The response was amazing."

Mr Khan added: "We raised close to £5,200, unbelievably. It was a frantic day.

"I went to a couple of people who had always hinted they were going to help us out but never had done.

"We sent out a message via the GoFundMe website and supporters on Twitter said they would donate. Loads of people got behind it.

"It was brilliant to see hundreds of pounds coming into the account every hour. It was quite extraordinary really. It saved us, it really did."

The campaigners hope to scupper controversial plans for an incinerator in Beddington Lane. They argue Sutton Council did not follow proper planning procedures when it granted planning permission for the facility, which is designed to burn 275,000 tonnes of waste each year.

The group points to planning guidelines which say Beddington Farmlands must become part of the Wandle Valley Regional Park from 2023 and, as a result, the site should be protected. Sutton and Viridor insist the rules were adhered to.

Mr Khan faced an £8,000 bill for his barrister's fees and a further £5,000 to cover costs if the case is unsuccessful.

Even with the eleventh hour reprieve the group needs to find an extra £4,000, a figure which could increase depending on the outcome of the hearing. The result is not expected for several weeks.

"The other side are pouring lots of cash into this which has meant our estimated bill is more than we expected," said Mr Khan.

"Their very detailed arguments mean our people need to more work which obviously costs more money.

"There's a huge asymmetry when it comes to spending power and it's difficult to accept."

Campaign to block incinerator on Croydon/Sutton border gets eleventh hour reprieve after cash appeal


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