Warehouse plan for Reydon beauty spot

PUBLISHED: 07:01 11 July 2014

A planning application has been made to build on Reydon Smere.

A planning application has been made to build on Reydon Smere.

© Archant 2014

A Reydon beauty spot is facing a new threat from development after plans were submitted for an industrial warehouse on the site.

Waveney District Council has received an application to build on the area known locally as The Smere, which is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

If approved, the proposals would see the nearby Fountain Way Industrial Estate extended onto agricultural land between Lowestoft Road and Rissemere Lane East.

Campaigners have branded the plans “horrendous” and are calling for the public consultation period to be extended, arguing that villagers were not properly notified about the proposals and that the July 22 deadline for responses was too soon.

The application is being made by Global Chair Components Ltd, which says it recently bought the four-acre site next to the business park that is currently used for grazing animals.

The company supplies office components to UK-based and international manufacturers including Starbucks, McDonalds, Burger King and Office Depot. It is now looking for extra storage and unloading space and wants to build the 4,299 sq m steel warehouse next to its premises.

In documents submitted with its application, the company says it would like to remain in the village but there is not enough room on the existing business industrial estate to achieve its aims.

If it is prevented from expanding, it says it will be forced to relocate to Milton Keynes – resulting in the loss of 33 full-time and three part-time local jobs. However, approval would enable it to create eight new jobs.

Darryl Dawson, the company’s managing director, said the new unit would operate from 9am to 5pm, be well screened and create minimal disruption.

He said the firm was one of the area’s largest employers and a key customer for many local firms.

“I feel that, with not only our business and the people we employ but also the taxes we pay and the suppliers we deal with, that we do a huge amount to support the local economy,” he said.

“This whole thing has been taken with a lot of care. We are conscious of causing disruption and have taken steps to avoid that.”

Robert Kelsey, a member of the Save the Smere campaign group, said it was the third time the site had been threatened with development.

The Smere was proposed as a possible site for homes as part of the controversial Waveney Pathfinder Scheme and plans submitted by farmers Timothy and Heidi Crick for a lambing shed and house are still being considered by Waveney.

Mr Kelsey said: “We appeal to the people of Reydon to, yet again, help save The Smere. What is being sought here is permission for an extension to the Reydon industrial zone beyond that allocated by the Waveney plan.

“This application seeks to use existing AONB farmland for a major manufacturing development which would seriously reduce the present agricultural area.

“The strategic plan for Waveney is quite clear that this is designated farmland. There has been no change in this respect so this proposal should have been thrown out immediately upon receipt of the plans.”

He said people living next to the site had not been officially informed about the plans and found out about them from the Southwold and Reydon Society. He called for a proper consultation over the proposals.

Mr Kelsey said The Smere was highly valued by local people and overlooked the UK’s second largest freshwater reed beds, which were a haven for rare bird life.

He added: “When will Waveney realise that the people of Reydon do not want any development on The Smere? It is their Southwold Common and must be protected.”

John Perkins, secretary of the Southwold and Reydon Society, backed calls for the consultation period to be extended. He added: “At first sight this is a pretty horrendous application. It extends the industrial estate in to farming land, which is completely contrary to the whole of point of having an industrial estate.

“It also raises the question of what happens to the rest of the site at the point permission is granted for this.

“A lot of issues are at stake and it will be at the top of our agenda at our next meeting.”

In an objection to the planning application, Richard Turvill, of Rissemere Lane East, says the industrial estate was created with a number of small units to support industry for the community but the warehouse proposed is more than 10 times the size of these.

He also points out that land has already been allocated within the estate for additional small units.

Barrie Remblance, chairman of Reydon Parish Council, said he had not been notified of the application and members would discuss it at their next meeting on Thursday.

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