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Planning meeting over British Sugar plan

PUBLISHED: 17:30 16 October 2008 | UPDATED: 09:16 11 May 2010

A public planning meeting answering questions about British Sugar's proposals to expand its operations at Cantley will be held in the village next week

Part of the proposal includes a scheme to extend its working season beyond the winter beet campaign to refine partly-processed sugar imported from overseas in a new facility facing Limpenhoe.

A public planning meeting answering questions about British Sugar's proposals to expand its operations at Cantley will be held in the village next week

Part of the proposal includes a scheme to extend its working season beyond the winter beet campaign to refine partly-processed sugar imported from overseas in a new facility facing Limpenhoe.

Factory managers who say the scheme has wider regeneration benefits will be among those at the village hall on Tuesday to answer questions about the proposal which has sparked concern over additional lorry movements outside the traditional campaign period.

A spokesman for British Sugar said the company had been open about its plans which were still at the feasibility study stage, adding representatives had already attended five parish council meetings and invited villagers to see for themselves a display at the factory.

He said: “We are investigating whether boats can come in to the Outer Harbour. If that happens it will be a significant boost to regeneration for the greater Yarmouth region. There are some really positive economic benefits and we would always seek to minimise the number of lorries.”

But the “completely staggering” prospect of 98 extra lorry movements a day is fuelling strong opposition locally, where people have been used to busy winters but quiet summers.

Villager Nigel Tuck said fears about the impact of more heavy traffic on already busy roads had become more urgent since he discovered the figures “buried deep within a whole wedge of supportive documentation”.

People have until November 14 to comment on the application submitted last month to the Broads Authority.

Mr Tuck said: “From a health and safety perspective that means an additional 98 HGVs every day thundering down what is already one of the most dangerous roads in Norfolk - the Acle Straight, and to then subsequently complete their journey through Beighton and then into Cantley itself. Coupled with this is that this will take place during March to July when the days are brighter and the children are out on their bikes. Surely we have a duty of care to ensure that we minimise any potential for tragedy.”

Mr Tuck said that from an environmental point of view the application was “completely staggering and beyond belief” with the River Yare a greener option, although the company spokesman said the river option had been looked into but was not viable. Mr Tuck has calculated that 22,000 extra lorries will rumble through the village between March and July.

However, the spokesman said the number of HGVs would be closer to 80 - 10pc of the 800 a day the roads network contends with during the winter. He added that over the years the company had cut the number of movements and that the increase would bring it back to previous levels.

Gillian Morgan, director of planning and strategy at the Broads Authority, said the proposal had generated a lot of interest, adding: “A few years ago people wondered what the future for the factory would be. Now they have identified a new future everyone has to consider if that is what they want.”

The other part of British Sugar's proposal is for an energy reduction project which aims to reduce oil burning by 50pc to reduce its carbon footprint.

The project will create 250 jobs during the construction phase and 25 in the long term.

The meeting is at 7.30pm on Tuesday at Cantley Village Hall.

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