Plans that have split a small north Northumberland community are poised to get the go-ahead next Thursday.
Bedmax, the horse-bedding firm, is applying for retrospective permission for a storage building at Greymare Farm in Detchant, near Belford.
It is being recommended for approval by Northumberland County Council’s north area planning committee subject to the implementation of a new traffic management plan, which was reported by the Gazette earlier this month.
There have been 40 letters of support stressing the importance of the business to the local economy. It employs 16 people full-time and around 48 more in the supply chain. However, there have also been 12 letters of objection, the majority of which express concerns about the number of lorries using the road.
A letter from Belford Parish Council states: ‘The success of the Bedmax company has created various problems including highway issues, as there are no passing places on the U34. The quality of the surface is not of a standard to take the current volume of HGV traffic on a daily basis’.
The traffic management plan will manage the number and times of HGV movements, result in the creation of four passing places and see the establishment of a liaison group to discuss issues.
A report by case officer Julie Seaton concludes: ‘The concerns of local residents are acknowledged and officers recognise the number of vehicle movements through Detchant does have some impact on their amenity. However, this application secures a number of measures which would improve the impacts from the current operation, and would cap the number of vehicle movements, other than in exceptional circumstances. It is also recognised the applicant is an important local employer. While this has resulted in environmental issues for Detchant in terms of traffic generation, there are significant economic benefits’.
A separate application for car parking for office workers is also set to be approved alongside the extension of the time limit for a previously-approved scheme to expand the office.