Plastics companies Innovia Films and Innovia Cellophane, who own the former factory site on the outskirts of Bridgwater, secured planning permission for a housing development on the site in July 2010 and are currently undertaking preparatory works, including demolition and asbestos removal.
However, in April, the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) – which currently considers applications for development consent for nationally significant infrastructure projects - granted consent for power company NNB Generation Company to enter the land and carry out surveys ahead of an application to use the land for workers accommodation during the construction of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, 10 miles away.
The IPC ultimately has the power to grant a development consent order to NNB – a subsidiary of EDF Energy - and issue a compulsory purchase order (CPO) in respect of the site.
Innovia sought to persuade High Court judge Mr Justice Cranston that the IPC acted unlawfully in authorising the surveys. It hoped the judge would quash the decision, and provide a stumbling block to NNB’s plans.
On Friday, though, the judge dismissed Innovia’s challenge, ruling that it could not be said that the IPC’s decision was "in any way disproportionate or flawed".
NNB hopes to have the 3,260MW nuclear power station, with two reactors operational around the end of the decade, and, if the development consent order is ultimately granted, plans to begin construction in 2013.
It proposes to build a campus to accommodate up to 1,075 workers in individual en suite bedrooms, together with restaurants, bars and other facilities. Once Hinkley Point C is built, the land would then be used for permanent housing.
EDF Energy submitted an application for the nuclear power plant at Hinkley to the IPC last week.