Campaigners taste defeat in battle over industrial site
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.