‘May we have our village back?’: fears over expansion of maltings
- Credit: Angela Sharpe Photography
People living near the proposed expansion of a major Norfolk manufacturing site have asked the firm behind the plan: “May we have our village back?”
Villagers in Great Ryburgh, where Crisp Maltings hopes to expand its production, have highlighted fears over increased traffic, a reduction in the value of their homes, and the impact on their mental health.
One resident blasted the plans as “cruel and immoral” and said it would see “lives shattered in order to stimulate production of malt”.
The Fakenham-based speciality malt grower and manufacturer submitted plans to North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) earlier this year to get permission for a new warehouse, 15 new grain silos and a new HGV access route.They also submitted plans for a 50-home housing development.
A Crisp Maltings spokesman said development would support job creation, and added: “During construction there will be a lot of work for builders and engineers.”
And chief executive David Thompson said: “The country needs manufacturing businesses that are profitable - and have a long-term future.”
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But dozens of residents have objected to the plans, with 83 public comments published.
It comes after NNDC extended the consultation period by over six weeks to Tuesday, June 30.
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A letter from Kettlestone Parish Council stated: “The A1067 at Pensthorpe is already subject to speeding traffic and dangerous overtaking. It is only a matter of time before this causes a major accident. We request a reduction in the speed limit from 60mph to 50mph and no overtaking on the most vulnerable stretches of road.”
The owners of Pensthorpe urged the Crisp Maltings firm to consider the area’s landscape.
They said: “It is our aim to ensure that we hand it over to the next generation in a better state than when we took it on and we would strongly urge Crisp Maltings to adopt the same view.
“We have concerns that the development will have serious impacts on the environment and don’t feel the application has really done anything more than acknowledge what’s there.”
The park owners said they also have “serious concerns” about the impact on their business, and the 120,000 visitors a year “who come for the peace and tranquillity”.
One Great Ryburgh resident wrote: “Devaluation of the villagers’ houses for the benefit of Crisp Malt is cruel and basically immoral. What right has this company to destroy so many people’s achievements?
“Can you visualise the deterioration in mental health of the villagers, lives shattered in order to stimulate production of malt? Please consider those who have lived here for many years.
“The factory has outgrown our village. Please may we have our village back?”
Other residents said they had “scary” and “negative” memories of HGVs driving past them on narrow roads as children.
However, another resident said the increase in customers at the village’s shops was “welcome” and “necessary”, while a further letter writer agreed that the village was not a “chocolate box picture”.
But another resident said: “If this application is agreed there would be a significant increase in HGV traffic. This would cause much more noise, pollution and nuisance to residents.”
And another objection stated: “Crisp Maltings do not care about anything other than profit. I hate seeing them mount the pavement to complete manoeuvres - will it take a death to resolve the issues?”
The county council’s highways authority said it had “consistently stated we are opposed to any significant increase in HGVs”.
They said approaching roads were too narrow to allow vehicles to pass each other safely, and said it would object to the application until safety issues were resolved.
The Environment Agency and Natural England said mitigation measures must be included.
Managing director Adrian Dyter said: “We are aware of and mindful about opposition to our proposals. Many specific points raised during the consultation will be addressed during the next phase of the process - not least those about the environment.”
He said the location in Great Ryburgh was “one of the best barley-growing regions in the world” and the site minimised environment impact by being situated close to growers, and directly employed 115 people
He said the proposals would “improve efficiency” and ensure the site could continue to provide jobs, and were developed together with residents and councillors.
He said: “The plans are fundamental to the success and sustainability of the business and determine our ability to support customers and develop exports.
“We will always listen to feedback and will take on board reasonable suggestions. In particular, we are very aware of the importance of the environment in our location and are looking at ways of mitigating the impact of the developments.
“While we await the response from the Planning Authorities, we will be giving extremely careful consideration to all the feedback that has been provided.”