Council makes U-turn over malt plant expansion

Villagers campaigning against plans for a major expansion of a malt processing plant near Fakenham have persuaded North Norfolk District Council to reconsider its decision to grant planning approval.

The Crisp Malting Group was given permission to construct two silos, a 20,000 square metre lorry park with wash bay, a three metre tall earth bund, a surface water infiltration basin and an office and staff car park at its plant in Great Ryburgh in January 2010.

The Ryburgh Village Amenity Group (RVAG) believe the development will damage the local environment, severely reduce their quality of life and cause excessive amounts of noise and light pollution and submitted a petition with more than 850 signatures requesting a review of the application.

The district council's cabinet portfolio-holder for planning, councillor Keith Johnson said yesterday: 'In light of the passage of time since the application was last considered by the committee, and in view of the issues raised and the large number of representations received, the application will be reported back to the development committee for further consideration at a future date.

'A copy of the text of the petition will be appended to the committee report which will also address the issues raised by the action group including the European Habitats Directive.'

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The development committee is due carry out a site visit in Great Ryburgh on Thursday.

The RVAG claim that the district council did not carry out a full environmental impact assessment.

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It has presented evidence that the development could pollute the River Wensum, a site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation.

It has also disputed claims made in the original application that the development would reduce lorry movement in Great Ryburgh and claims over its lease on its current lorry park in Hempton.

RVAG member Dave Dalton said: 'It is very unusual for a matter given approval to be referred back to the development committee and this shows what can be achieved when people work together to have their voice heard. But this is not the end and we need to continue this campaign'

Crisp Malting Group managing director Euan Macpherson said: 'We are disappointed that our application has been referred back to the DCB as were confident that NNDC had carried out its obligations diligently.

'The development has incorporated every possible consideration into the design of screening and lighting while the attenuation pond, which will catch any run off, is designed to take a one in a 100 year flood to prevent any possible pollution.

'Building additional storage and parking our trucks on site will reduce traffic in the village which I'm sure would be welcomed by everyone.'

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