Fears over Great Yarmouth firm Gleadall’s explosive material plans

A PRESSURE group monitoring the comings and goings at Great Yarmouth outer harbour site has raised questions about a company’s application to store a component which can be used to manufacture explosives.

Great Yarmouth Scrutiny and Heritage Group has written to the borough council’s planning department about Gleadell Agriculture’s application to store ammonia nitrate.

And a Conservative county councillor said the “blast area” involved covers most of Yarmouth and part of Gorleston.

South Smallburgh division councillor Paul Rice, who sits on the county’s fire and rescue overview scrutiny group, said the public notice and Gleadell’s intentions had been brought to his notice by a port user.

Mr Rice contacted the chief fire officer Nogel Williams, but said he had been unaware of the situation and it has been passed on to investigate.

One of Mr Rice’s other concerns is that Yarmouth fire station is within the evacuation and blast area.

In it’s letter to planners, the scrutiny group states: “We already have an existing company storing ammonia nitrate on the peninsular. What is disconcerting is persons living on the West Bank Gorleston side are in the recommended evacuation area. Any property east of Middleton Road and Church Road is within a mile of the present store of ammonia nitrate.”

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And they claim: “With Gleadell wanting to store ammonia nitrate in its granary this would mean we have a potential bomb to the north and south of the outer harbour.”

A public notice regarding the application was published in the Mercury on August 12 and the group say: “The planning advert implies that the ammonia nitrate is to be stored in Gleadell Granary, but rules governing storage state it must not be stored near diesel oil, grease, hay, straw or grain.”

They claim there are many vulnerable facilities including private sector businesses, public utilities and tourism businesses including the Pleasure beach and Wellington Pier.

They are asking the council if emergency resources are in place to cover the notifying and removal of people from the evacuation zone should an emergency occur, and point out the site is adjacent to the power station and gas pipelines.

Spokesman John Cooper said: “In this day and age of terrorism, the issuing of a licence to store explosive making material is being treated too glibly, the storing of ammonia nitrate, a terrorists explosive of choice, is not planning in any way for the future of the prosperity of the peninsular. Also are we going to use the peninsular for all the thousands of jobs the council and MP have been applauding themselves on in the press, or store explosive material making the Enterprise Zone a dead zone.”

Mr Rice added the public needed to be informed about the threat and a “robust evacuation plan” put in place.

“This would represent a major investment to cover such a scheme and would mean additional resources.”

The borough’s head of planning and business services, Peter Warner, said the council was processing the application in discussion with the HSE and other consultees and people have the chance to make their feelings known before September 27. Write to him at the Town Hall.