Opponents of Bressingham silo development slam district planning process

Mock-up image of what Harvest House grain silo proposal in Bressingham could look like.
Mock-up image of what Harvest House grain silo proposal in Bressingham could look like.

A Bressingham businessman says he expects to file for a judicial review before Christmas against a controversial agricultural plant expansion, as discontent grows how the planning process was handled.

Villagers have continued to speak out against the application to build dozens of silos and associated facilities at Harvest House off Low Road, which won planning approval from South Norfolk Council this month.

By a vote of seven to two, the Development Management Committee agreed with the assessment by planning officer Chris Watt that the “clear economic benefits” of the plan outweighed the negative impacts.

But opponents are now highlighting what they feel are “many failures” in the district council’s Environmental Screening Opinion, strongly disagreeing with Mr Watts’ conclusions on issues such as noise pollution, heavy goods vehicle traffic and effects on the value of homes and businesses.

Plant hire business owner Mervyn Lambert, who is waiting to see the conditions of the planning permission before he submits his case for a judical review, told the Diss Express: “There are so many points they (the planners) have done wrong, we are spoilt for choice.

“It (the development) is probably going to cost 25 jobs.

“It’s a blot on the landscape and furthermore, it’s going to exacerbate a real traffic problem in Diss.”

The applicant and owner of Harvest House, Openfield Agriculture, says the £10 million uprade will create six direct jobs and many indirect jobs, and believes it will be as a “catalyst for the local rural economy”, with nearby maltsters interested in sourcing grain from the site.

But objectors are adamant about perceived failings in the Screening Opinion of the area, with one of the most contentious points being if anywhere close by had ‘sensitive land use’.

South Norfolk Council determined there was not, but residents argue the council overlooked the Fenners Care Home, thought to be about 1,100 metres from Harvest House.

Steve Bradfield, director at Fenners, which employs 20 people to help adults with learning disabilities, said they would “definitely be affected” due to its proximity to the facility noise, and he claimed they were not consulted in any way.

He added: “I find it difficult to see how we have ‘slipped through the net’ as it were, because I believe Mr Watts has suggested that no facility such as ours exists. Well, we do.”