Villagers gather against proposals to facilitate Easton Food Enterprise Zone

Residents at Marlingford Village Hall gathered to oppose proposals for the Easton Food Enterprise Zo

Residents at Marlingford Village Hall gathered to oppose proposals for the Easton Food Enterprise Zone. Picture: Luke Powell - Credit: Archant

More than 30 people gathered to oppose proposals allowing companies to build on land without planning permission.

Villagers met at Marlingford Village Hall last night to learn more about a proposed Local Development Order (LDO) for land west of Easton.

Broadland District Council has started a consultation over the LDO, which will help facilitate a Food Enterprise Zone at the 19 hectare site, off Blind Lane.

Should it go ahead, the order will enable certain types of businesses to build there without going through the normal planning process.

But people living nearby, fear it will lead to increased noise and traffic.

The local authority, meanwhile, says the idea is to attract food-related business to set-up close to each other and the county's research facilities.

It is hoped the scheme would then bring 'high-quality' food processing and marketing jobs into the area.

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The types of business deemed acceptable to build in the LDO include:

• Processing of agricultural produce.

• Storage and distribution of livestock, which includes a livestock market.

• Agri-tech businesses, which make use of the local agri-science base.

• Food technology companies.

• Manufacture of specialist food supplies.

Speaking at yesterday's meeting, south Norfolk councillor Margaret Dewsbury said: 'In my view, we would have more control about what was going to be on that site if they [the applications] came up individually, rather than having an LDO.'

Speaking earlier in the week, Deborah Roberts, who lives 60 metres from the proposed site, said: 'Our bedroom window looks directly over it. We are very concerned about the smell, as food processing can give out some quite strong aromas.'

Yesterday, villagers donned high-visibility clothing to carry out a traffic survey on a 'bottleneck' A47 junction next to the proposed site.

They claim traffic trying to avoid hold-ups at the junction already use the narrow lanes in adjacent villages, and that more traffic from the proposed industrial estate will make the roads unsafe for many users. Visit

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