CONCERNS have been raised about the suitability of an access road to a potential new nuclear site in Shepperdine.

Horizon, the company behind the plans to build a new nuclear power station near the village, has applied for a four year extension to its contractors' compound.

The compound, on Shepperdine Road, was built under permitted development rules to allow the energy company to carry out investigations work on the land.

Horizon wants to keep the compound there for four years to enable it carry out more work on the site.

However, local people claim Shepperdine Road is not suitable for lorries and machinery accessing the site.

Barry Turner, chairman of Oldbury Parish Council, which has objected to the application, said: "We are not objecting to the compound being there but we are objecting to the length of time they are seeking to use it for.

"Sometime this year they will know, one way or another, if the Oldbury site is designated for a new power station.

"If it is designated there are a lot of issues to think about but Horizon have made provision by purchasing a finger of land to be able to make an access road via the existing power station and the existing power station road.

"Instead of turning down Shepperdine Road they should be making use of this alternative access."

Cllr Matthew Riddle, South Gloucestershire councillor for the Severn Ward, said: "Shepperdine Road is a very narrow road, it is more of a country lane. The access for this compound should be off the main power station road.

"Four years is far too long because of the sensitive nature of Shepperdine Road."

Tim Proudler, planning and consents manager for Horizon Nuclear Power said: "We established the compound last year, and an approval for it to remain for up to four years would mean that we don’t need to keep creating and removing it as we continue our investigations - this will be a significant help in minimising disruption to local residents from lorry movements.

"We would need to construct a proper access road to the site of the new power station before the main construction activities could begin, and we think this should be from the existing main access road, close to the existing power station."