Residents oppose industrial park plan

SHAUN LOWTHORPE Fresh plans to convert a former Norfolk pig farm into a small-scale industrial park have sparked opposition from nearby villagers amid fears it will cause gridlock around the area.

SHAUN LOWTHORPE

Fresh plans to convert a former Norfolk pig farm into a small-scale industrial park have sparked opposition from nearby villagers amid fears it will cause gridlock around the area.

The owners of Hill Farm at Yelverton, near Norwich, have submitted an application to South Norfolk Council seeking to change the use of the site to accommodate a storage facility for a doubling-glazing firm, a sculptor's studio and a storage company.

Supporters believe the scheme presents a chance to revive a vacant property and create between 15 and 20 jobs locally.

But more than 30 residents have objected to the plans and councillors last month went against officer recommendations in favour of the scheme and rejected two previous applications because they wanted to see a comprehensive plan for the site and not piecemeal development of the area.

Those decisions are currently being appealed.

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Neighbour Roger Brown, of Church Road, urged the owners, J&R Forestry, to drop the plans because the scheme was widely opposed among villagers.

"They are proposing to alter a large farm to build an industrial estate which is completely inappropriate for a residential area and we don't want it," he said.

"At the approach to the farm there is a duck pond where children gather and we have a residential home in the village and we don't want any increase in the traffic. The roads around here are barely adequate for the traffic which is there now."

Richard Sapey, of Drane's Lane, said: "We are worried about the increase in commercial traffic. It's really totally unacceptable to have an industrial estate in such a rural area. There must be better sites available which are more appropriate."

Dermot Chapman, from agents O A Chapman and Son, said there was no intention to create a large-scale development.

"We are not trying to rival the business parks in Norwich," he said. "We are looking for local people or small businesses who want a place where they can effectively store their materials.

"We hope local people will take the opportunity to use the buildings."

Councillors are expected to consider the new application next month.