READER LETTER: Village community is divided over Bressingham silos development
Our village community is regrettably divided over Openfield’s plans for enlarged grain storage facilities.
Despite planning approval, there remain considerable environmental, conservation, flood control, highway safety and traffic problems. These have yet to be properly, or even adequately, resolved.
Bressingham is one of Norfolk’s long villages. The top of Common Road, from where Mr Smith wrote (Diss Express, September 15) is at one end and will be little affected.
The church, school, pub and Openfield’s future grain stores are at the other end, some two miles distant.
I object to the application because our home, even two-thirds of a mile distant, will overlook industrial silos topped by illuminated gantries reaching well above the trees, with 18 drying fans on 16.5-metre high towers operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Having lived in the village for 40 years, Mr Smith will recollect the community objections to the proposals to build a new industrial plant for Omar Homes to manufacture pre-fabricated housing in broadly the same location in the 1980s.
Politicians and planners then reflected the community’s considerable concerns, applied the policies of the local plan – policies which have hardly changed over time – and refused consent.
Openfield’s 17 agri-industrial silos and plant, (nearly 30 metres high, twice the height of the tower of Bressingham Church) is a far more intensive development and will have greater impact on its surroundings.
Planners claim to be place-makers and that involves co-operation and compromise as well as creative thought. So far, this application is noted only for conflict.
It should be possible to build such a new facility, gain its significant benefits and also resolve community and environmental concerns, as Openfield was proud to do for its similar plant in Wiltshire.
So far, there has been no effort to emulate the achievements in Wiltshire, by Openfield, South Norfolk’s planners or their political masters.
Our local Conservative councillor Barry Stone even declined to attend our parish meeting – called specifically to discuss the likely impacts of Openfield’s proposals and failed to attend the development management committee, of which he was then a member, when it was granted consent.
Perhaps a useful and constructive next step in this unresolved and costly planning saga would be for all to get round a table and agree how an acceptable and attractive solution might be achieved and not to try to ram through consent on the basis of administrative planning and legal due process.
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