Battle over £10m agricultural development in Bressingham set to go to court

A mock-up image of the proposed development at Harvest House in Bressingham, after one year.
A mock-up image of the proposed development at Harvest House in Bressingham, after one year.

A vocal critic of a proposal to construct large silos at a Bressingham plant says he will take the matter to court, after the development received its formal permission notice at the end of last week.

Openfield Agriculture has been given the go-ahead by South Norfolk Council for £10 million of building works – including approximately 27 silos – at Harvest House, provided the firm adheres to 25 different conditions.

This follows a divisive planning process which spanned several months, with opposition from residents, business owners and Bressingham and Fersfield Parish Council.

Bressingham businessman Mervyn Lambert, one of the main opponents of the plans, said he had instructed his solicitors to file for a judicial review of the application, as well as a separate statutory noise nuisance complaint.

Mr Lambert said: “This is where it was going all along. They were never listening to the people of Bressingham.

“We are hoping a judge will be more sympathetic.

“We are challenging the process, and how they have interpreted planning law. There are so many issues.

“The noise will be harmful to people living nearby and we are not going to put up with it.”

Contention around the development has centered on fears of increased traffic, noise from the new facilities, and visual and environmental impacts, while some objectors also claim they were not adequately informed or considered during the planning process.

In its report to South Norfolk Council’s development management committee, planning officers Chris Raine and Chris Watts said all of the concerns had been taken into account in their assessment.

They determined appropriate mitigation measures were outlined to address these impacts, and concluded they felt the developer had complied with planning policy.

Richard Hewitt, chairman of Bressingham and Fersfield Parish Council, which recommended the plans be refused, said: “We were not happy about the form in which the proposal was presented.

“We have a large number of people (in the area) connected to agriculture, and we are well aware of the need.

“We have often felt that, if people from both sides sat down around a table and talked about it, the outcome could have been much better.”