Major expansion at Crisp Maltings could see new silos and 50 homes built

PUBLISHED: 12:22 21 April 2020 | UPDATED: 18:07 22 April 2020

Plans for the site's expansion. The site layout, divided into three planning applications. Photo: Bidwells/Crisp Maltings

Plans for the site's expansion. The site layout, divided into three planning applications. Photo: Bidwells/Crisp Maltings


A Norfolk manufacturer is set for a major expansion after plans for 50 homes, a warehouse, new road access and increased production capacity were unveiled.

Crisp Maltings chief executive, David Thompson. Photo: Crisp MaltingsCrisp Maltings chief executive, David Thompson. Photo: Crisp Maltings

Crisp Maltings, in Great Ryburgh, hopes to expand its north Norfolk site and operations with 15 new silos and a new warehouse at its Fakenham, headquarters as well as providing new housing.

The speciality malt grower and manufacturer submitted plans to North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) for the creation of:

• A 60,000 sqft warehouse,

• 15 3,000-tonne silos,

Barley harvesting near Salhouse, Norfolk, for Crisp Maltings. Photo: Angela Sharpe/Crisp MaltingsBarley harvesting near Salhouse, Norfolk, for Crisp Maltings. Photo: Angela Sharpe/Crisp Maltings

• A new access road for HGVs,

• A housing development of 50 homes and community facilities,

• And further expansion of the maltings site, which is located to the north of Fakenham Road.

READ MORE: Norfolk maltings invests £6.7m as craft beer bubble shows no sign of bursting

Plans for the site's expansion. A sketch of the residential homes. Photo: Bidwells/Crisp MaltingsPlans for the site's expansion. A sketch of the residential homes. Photo: Bidwells/Crisp Maltings

The proposed schemes are split across three separate applications.

Full permission is requested for the warehouse and silos, while a hybrid application has also been submitted, to ask for full planning permission for a new road for HGV access, and outline planning permission for the remainder of the maltings site expansion plans.

Finally, the firm have submitted an outline planning application for a housing development of up to 50 homes, land for a community centre and public open space - with all details of the scheme, aside from access, to be agreed at a later stage in the process.

The applications were given to the council in late March, and all decisions are yet to be made.

Crisp Maltings could be set for a major expansion. Photo: Frances BraceCrisp Maltings could be set for a major expansion. Photo: Frances Brace

A design and access statement, prepare by planning agents, Bidwells, said a traffic assessment had been completed, and the new road aimed to “reduce the number of HGVs related to the Malting site passing through the village”.

The silos and warehouse are set to be built on almost 3.6 hectares of vacant grassland. The plans state the expansion will continue to provide employment for 113 full-time and two part-time roles,

A Crisp Maltings spokesman said the development would support job creation, and added: “During the construction phases there will be a lot of work for builders and engineers.

“Longer term, employment will be generated for the production and delivery of additional raw materials, for malt production, packaging and delivery, and with our customers for brewing and distilling.”

The firm is supplied with barley by 280 local farmers and 80 other Norfolk businesses.

READ MORE: Great Ryburgh villagers lose legal fight against Crisp Maltings

The total area for development is 12 hectares and the firm’s initial vision for the site aimed to see it handle a further 60,000 tonnes a year - a total of 175,000 tonnes - and create 24 HGV parking spaces.

A further 2.5 hectares of land will be given over to housing - with 20 two-bed, 15 three-bed and 15 four-bed homes set to be built, with 50pc afforable homes, five self-builds and public parks, play areas and open green spaces.

“The applications from the firm, which has a yearly overseas turnover of £80m, follows a previous bid by campaigners from the Ryburgh Village Action Group to halt a separate expansion via a legal battle in the Supreme Court. The council gave Crisp Maltings planning permission in 2011 to create new lorry parking and two additional silos, but fears plans would cause harm the River Wensum sparked the challenge. Objectors claimed the council had a duty to do an environmental impact assessment (EIA), and won a High Court ruling against the council, which the Appeal Court subsequently overturned. But in 2015, despite dismissing the Appeal Court’s decision, and saying an EIA should have been done, five Supreme Court judges said the application should be permitted to go ahead, as there was nothing to suggest the council would have arrived at a different planning decision - which NNDC described as “welcome news”.

The firm has now made a lawful commencement of this permission, but to date has not delivered the full proposals.

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Crisp Maltings chief executive David Thompson said: “The country needs manufacturing businesses that are profitable - and have a long-term future.

READ MORE Norfolk’s £3.5m specialist malt plant is up and running, says Crisp Maltings boss

“Exports will play a crucial role in getting the economy back on its feet, and Crisp has the opportunity to significantly increase its sales to craft brewers and distillers across the world.

“Rather than submitting a series of piecemeal applications over time, we have given thought to future requirements and are now able to lay all the plans on the table together.

“This provides transparency for planning authorities and for the community, and allows for informed discussion and meaningful engagement.

“At the same time as strengthening the company’s future, we are mindful both of neighbours and of the environment. We are doing all we can to create positive impacts and mitigate any negative impacts.

“For example, there is space for planting of native trees, hedgerows and wildflower banks to mitigate losses, and to create habitats for wildlife.

“Many local residents expressed the need for new homes in the village: hence the plans for new housing. We very much hope the commitment to invest in Crisp’s future – and to help increase its contribution to the economy in north Norfolk - will be widely welcomed, and we look forward to working with the community to make the most of the opportunities the plans open up.”

READ MORE: New boss at Crisp Malting Group aims to expand on a global legacy

‘A business we want in Norfolk’ - plan welcomed by village’s councillor

The area’s county councillor said he was delighted to see the expansion of “one of the sorts of businesses we want to be in Norfolk”.

Steffan Aquarone, Liberal Democrat county councillor for Melton Constable, said: “I’m very supportive of businesses that are planning to expand, particularly in this current climate.

“We need to encourage as many jobs as possible and Crisp Maltings is one of the small number of businesses in Norfolk that process the stuff that we grow here.

“I’m absolutely delighted to see these plans from one of the sorts of businesses we want to be in Norfolk.”

And Mr Aquarone, who is leader of the council’s Lib Dem group, said he was pleased the housing was set to be considered separately.

“The Neighbourhood Plan doesn’t identify anything like the level of housing demand,” he added. “It would have to be pretty special in terms of architecture or low energy consumption to be acceptable to the community.”

Crisp Maltings 150-year history:

The firm began in 1870 when brothers Frederick and George Smith set up a maltings at Great Ryburgh.

And the business, now in its 150th year, exports its malts all over the world.

In the late 1800s, the firm expanded into Wells and began to export overseas.

The malthouse was “severely damaged” during bombing in the Second World War in 1940, and subsequently rebuilt and modernised.

Processes were modernised in the 1950s, with pneumatic malting equipment installed, and in the late 1980s to early 1990s, £6m was invested in a new stainless steel plant.

And throughout the 2000s the company acquired a series of other maltings firms in East Anglia, while the 2010s saw acquisitions in Germany and Poland.

An automatic bagging line and the UK’s only speciality malt plant were installed at Great Ryburgh in 2018.

And in 2020, the company marked its 150th year - with plans for a major expansion, housing and more jobs.

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