PEOPLE living near a site earmarked for a new nuclear power station claim they are being kept in the dark over the proposals.

At a public meeting, more than 40 residents of Shepperdine and Oldbury criticised energy company E.ON for not keeping them informed about its plans to build a new power station in their village.

During the last 12 months the energy giant has bought land in the Oldbury and Shepperdine area and secured a connection to the National Grid.

In March Oldbury was included in the government's shortlist of sites where new nuclear power stations could be built.

However, residents claim they have been completely ignored and have received very little information from E.ON.

Reg Illingworth, of Shepperdine, said: "You wouldn't buy all this land for nothing - they must have some idea what they are going to build there. You can't tell me they don't already have detailed plans for the site."

Dr David Goldie, another Shepperdine resident, said: "They haven't been very specific when I have spoken to them, but then they claim they can't be very specific at the moment."

The meeting last Thursday was organised by Cllr Matthew Riddle, South Gloucestershire councillor for the Severn ward, to gauge public opinion on the proposal.

Residents from Shepperdine told Cllr Riddle they were concerned about property values, flooding and the increase in traffic while the station was being built.

Cllr Riddle said: "I thought to have a public meeting in Shepperdine because if this gets built, and it is still a big if, I believe it is Shepperdine that will be most affected and as an Oldbury resident I share their very real concerns.

"E.ON got off on the wrong foot, especially when they came down here and started buying up land and houses.

"E.ON have had a consultation back in March, which was very much needed. They now seem to be keen to engage with local people now things are getting closer. The devil will be in the detail and hopefully they will address people’s concerns."

A representative from E.ON will be giving a presentation to Oldbury Parish Council next month and local people are being encouraged to attend, but Shepperdine residents claim the company’s sudden communication is too late.

"It seems to me that we are trying to shut the stable door once the horse has bolted and it’s too late to stop them," said Mr Illingworth.

Emily Highmore, spokeswoman for E.ON, said the company had wanted to engage much sooner with local people but was unable to until only recently because of uncertainty surrounding the project.

She said: "In terms of detail on what we're hoping to build, the government process will identify two reactor designs to choose from so we'd expect to be in a position to decide which one and how many mid-2010.

"The good news is that people won't have to wait anything like that long to get a feel for what we'd be looking at because we're planning on sharing two indicative site layouts with people at the next round of public exhibitions, which will be in October/November."

Ms Highmore also said that before any work would begin on the site an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) would be done to assess the affects of noise and traffic on the local area.

Oldbury Parish Council will meet at Oldbury Memorial Hall on Tuesday, July 7 (7pm).