The £10 million upgrade proposal at an agricultural site in Bressingham could only be accepted by villagers if their concerns are heeded, according to parish councillors.
Bressingham and Fersfield Parish Council said it valued the decision by South Norfolk Council planners this month, to postpone any verdict on plans for over 30 new facilities at Harvest House in Low Road, until the planning committe carried out a site visit.
But in an open letter to planners, the parish council claimed that it saw evidence of “continual expansion creep”, and that changes to expand the initial application have not been properly scrutinised.
They stated: “We remain gravely concerned at the scale and impacts the development would have on landscape and life quality – it is gross overdevelopment.
“Harvest House has mutated from an agricultural amenity to a plant christened ‘Countryside Canary Wharf’.”
The plans — which include 17 storage silos, ten intake silos, a machinery building, a dust box, three grain driers and six load hoppers — were submitted by site owners Openfield Agriculture, who contend the development would ensure the facility stays financially viable, secure the existing workforce and create at least six new jobs.
However, the application received an influx of objections from local residents during a consultation at the start of the month, plus the warning of a potential judicial review, with many worried about noise, traffic, visual impacts, devaluation of nearby homes and detriments to businesses.
Parish councillors also now say both they and the public felt “misled” by documents on the South Norfolk Council planning website, and they maintain their refusal recommendation, arguing that a “full and proper case” for the proposal has not yet been made.
They added: “We are not obstructive or resistant to change.
“The essence of their proposal is to consolidate their operations on one site.
“This inevitably will mean loss of employment on the sites they close.
“An alternative that Bressingham and Fersfield Parish Council would welcome is development of a type that brings considerably more employment – and provides opportunities for entrepreneurism and initiative.”
View the application at https://info.south-norfolk.gov.uk/online-applications — search 2016/1447.