Head of Yarmouth tourist attraction seeks advice over Gleadell site

THE owner of one of Great Yarmouth’s premier tourist attractions is seeking expert advice over a bid to set up a site next to the outer harbour containing a chemical compound that could be used in explosives.

Meanwhile, a leading figure at the town’s borough council has sought to reassure those worried by what would be a second facility to hold ammonia nitrate in the town that the plans will be thoroughly scrutinised.

Last week, the Mercury reported concerns raised over Gleadell Agriculture’s application to Great Yarmouth Borough Council to store 5000 metric tonnes of ammonia nitrate. It led to talk of a potential “blast area” covering much of the town and concerns being raised over the impact on potential and existing business operating nearby.

Albert Jones, managing director at the Pleasure Beach, said he was not in a position to comment as to any potential risk, but added that he was seeking expert advice.

He said: “We’re in discussions with a company about the possibility of getting an expert on fertilisers in to advise us.

“I’ve raised questions with people locally and I don’t think there’s an expert in the area that can deal with the pluses and minuses involved.”

The alarm was raised over the application by the Great Yarmouth Scrutiny and Heritage Group, which sent a letter to the council pointing out that one such facility storing the compound already existed, in the form of a site on Denes Road owned by J & H Bunn.

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Following the article, the borough’s head of planning and business services, Peter Warner, said a decision would be made “based on all the facts”.

In a letter to the paper, Mr Warner said that among others they were consulting the Health and Safety Executive, with the level of fire protection and air venting considered, as well as the effect of restricting new and existing development.

“Only when the assessments are completed will a reasonable, accurate view of the implications arising from the proposal become apparent,” he added.

The scrutiny and heritage group added that accepting the application could lead to “a potential bomb to the north and south of the outer harbour”, while spokesman John Cooper said it could put off businesses looking to invest in the area.

However, Russell Leggett, president of the Great Yarmouth Chamber of Commerce, said: “I think that businesses would not be put off from taking up occupation of premises in the enterprise zone near to the ammonium nitrate storage facility because there is a history of successful storage in a nearby area already.”

“I do, however, understand the objections and obviously it would be necessary for very careful precautions to be taken and for high level security arrangements to be put in place to provide peace of mind.”

A spokesman for Gleadell Agriculture emphasised the company worked to the highest industry safety standards, adding that an audit of the proposal by local fire chiefs had come back with no problems.

People have until September 27 to make their feelings known about the application by writing to Peter Warner, head of planning and business services, Great Yarmouth Borough Council, Town Hall, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, NR30 2QF.