Successful firm wants to extend its Belford base

A Belford-based business is growing strong despite the current economic climate - so much so that it wants to extend its premises.

TreeLocate, which manufactures artificial trees, plants and flowers, has applied for planning permission to extend its existing industrial unit at Station Road to provide extra storage space.

The company has gone from strength to strength since it was founded in 1995 by Mark and Jonathan Nesbitt, with its innovative products now shipped all over the world. Customers include top interior and exterior landscapers, designers and architects, as well as wholesale florists, display builders for film sets and theme parks, and major high-street retailers.

But nearby residents are unhappy with the TreeLocate’s plans to extend its Belford base, which come soon after the company felled real trees at the edge of its unit that had served as a screen between the unit and residential properties.

There have also been complaints of the unit’s alarm going off through the night.

Neighbour Tracy Bell said: “The business is fantastic, that’s not the issue. It provides employment and it’s great to have industry in Belford, we’re not objecting to that.

“We just don’t want to live on an industrial estate. We need to protect what we’ve got there.”

Trees screening the unit had been a condition of the original planning consent, but this was no longer enforceable after five years.

Discussing the plans, Belford Parish Council found inaccuracies in the application, with areas of trees missing from the technical drawings.

Members will ask that, in the event of planning consent, conditions be added to ensure any alarm system installed in the extension would be properly maintained. They also said working hours should be limited to minimise noise disruption for neighbours. “We should point out that the screen has been removed,” added chairman Coun Brenda Stanton.