Villagers stage protest over plant expansion plan

Residents of Great Ryburgh, near Fakenham, staged a peaceful protest yesterday when councillors visited a malt processing plant which could be set for a major expansion.

The Crisp Malting Group had its plans approved in January last year but North Norfolk District Council has referred them back to its development committee for further consideration following a campaign by Great Ryburgh residents.

As members of the development committee visited the site yesterday they were met by a group of about 50 villagers waving placards.

Signs were also put up around the village protesting against the proposed expansion.

The Crisp Malting Group is seeking permission to construct two silos, a 20,000 square metre lorry park, wash bay, a three-metre earth bund, a surface water infiltration basin and an office and staff car park.

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The Ryburgh Village Amenity Group (RVAG) believe the development will damage the environment and could potentially pollute the River Wensum, a site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation. They say it would severely reduce their quality of life and cause excessive amounts of noise and light pollution.

Crisp Malting Group managing director Euan Macpherson said the development would reduce lorry movements in Great Ryburgh by improving efficiency and that all issues had been taken into account with regards to noise and light pollution and potential pollution of the River Wensum,

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He said: 'The district council has dealt with us diligently and I can't see why our plans wouldn't be approved.'

Matthew Champion, a member of the RVAG steering committee, said: 'Considering the horrible weather, there has been a great turnout today and that shows the strength of feeling in the village.

'We are a small village and have already reached an intolerable level of HGV movements here.

'We believe the development would increase lorry movements and not decrease them as claimed by the Crisp Malting Group.

'The extra lighting would mean that we would never have another dark night in Great Ryburgh.

'The posters and signs have been made by children in the village. We felt it is important for them to be involved because it is their future we are protecting.

'If the expansion goes ahead the plant will cover more land than the houses in Great Ryburgh; it will be bigger than the village itself!'

'We have been taking legal advice and if we have to we will seek a judicial review. We believe we would have a very strong case.'

Chairman of Great Ryburgh Parish Council Alan Smith said: 'We are not anti-Crisp Malting, we just feel this site is full and there is no further space for expansion.'

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