Cam­paign­ers taste de­feat in bat­tle over in­dus­trial site

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - by Sam Len­non slen­non@thek­m­group.co.uk

VIL­LAGERS who say they have suf­fered noise and pol­lu­tion from an in­dus­trial site have lost their fight to stop a com­pany putting up more build­ings there.

Coun­cil­lors granted per­mis­sion for Park Leisure to have new of­fice and stor­age build­ings at Fairview In­dus­trial Park, Ruckinge, but just for three years.

Ash­ford bor­ough plan­ning of­fi­cers had rec­om­mended ap­proval, say­ing ef­fects on neigh­bours could be con­trolled by plan­ning con­di­tions.

Cllr Jill Hutchinson (Con) told the plan­ning com­mit­tee: “It has been an in­dus­trial site for a long time. If this went to ap­peal we’d be on a very sticky wicket.

“We should be en­cour­ag­ing in­dus­trial units in vil­lages. Em­ploy­ment is very dif­fi­cult at the moment.”

Cllr Matthew French (Con) said: “I have sym­pa­thy with the res­i­dents but I ap­pre­ci­ate the own­ers have come to ca­pac­ity and are try­ing to make the best of what they’ve got.”

But Cllr Peter Dav­i­son (Ash Ind) op­posed the ap­pli­ca­tion say­ing: “I sup­port em­ploy­ment sites in ru­ral ar­eas but I draw the line when they be­come a noise nui­sance to neigh­bours.”

Park Leisure, which makes play equip­ment, was given tem­po­rary per­mis­sion for a por­ta­ble cabin at its site in Ham­street Road and can also cre­ate new stor­age build­ings and con­tain­ers and an open stor­age space.

But a state­ment from Ruckinge Parish Coun­cil to the com­mit­tee read: “At night the site is like Black­pool il­lu­mi­na­tion and can be seen for miles.”

The parish coun­cil said vil­lagers have suf­fered “in­tol­er­a­ble noise” from metal cut­ting work­shops and con­stant bleep­ing noises from fork­lift trucks.

Eleven out of 17 neigh­bours ob­jected, say­ing they have had to put up with con­stant plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions, noise and pol­lu­tion for the last 20 years.

They said the site is too small for busi­ness and noise and pol­lu­tion would get worse if per­mis­sion was granted.

Park Leisure said it is try­ing to make the best use of ex­ist­ing space.

It said its traf­fic move­ments have re­duced be­cause it sub-con­tracts out work and no out­door work now takes place.

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