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Vehicle recycling facility and relief road plans in Stanton, near Bury St Edmunds, are refused

Plans for a new vehicle recycling facility and relief road in a Suffolk village have been refused after more than 100 objections.

The plans were submitted by Jaynic for a new vehicle storage, distribution, and processing site on land at Shepherds Grove, in Bury Road, Stanton, a new roundabout on the A143 and a much-needed link road to the existing Shepherd’s Grove West industrial area.

The proposals also included the delivery of buildings for commercial and roadside uses on around 2.7ha of land within the application site.

An aerial image of the proposed Stanton Shepherds Grove development site. Picture: Jaynic
An aerial image of the proposed Stanton Shepherds Grove development site. Picture: Jaynic

In early March, following more than 100 objection letters, members of West Suffolk’s development control committee decided they were minded to refuse the application contrary to the officer’s recommendation for approval and support from Stanton Parish Council.

Today after a discussion lasting more than three hours, and despite officers and Stanton PC maintaining their position, members' final decision was to refuse the application with 10 votes for and three against.

The decision was made on the grounds it would worsen an already strained highway system.

The council report estimated the development would add 931 vehicles over a 12-hour period. Of these, 81 were predicted to be goods vehicles, including HGVs.

Today's meeting saw several members of the public and council representatives from nearby parishes speak out against the proposals.

Nigel Burrows, a retired planning inspector and Hepworth resident, criticised the officer's assessment of the application and said they were dealing with it in a piecemeal manner.

He added: "The officers are simply repeating the applicant's assertions about market conditions, infrastructure costs and so on. Those are vague, generalised assertions unsupported by any objective analysis.

"The harm to the countryside will be accentuated by the physical intrusion of commercial development upon what is currently an open field indistinguishable from the surrounding farmland."

Cllr Ben Lord, of Ixworth PC, also echoed these concerns. He said: "For us in Ixworth, an application of this nature will overload our bypass that is already at breaking point during peak periods."

The worries raised today were similar to those brought up during the initial meeting in March and came despite Jaynic committing to additional conditions since the initial decision.

These included the creation of two-year a liaison group which would have acted as the first port of call to discuss and address ongoing concerns, as well as a requirement for vehicles owned by the company to avoid smaller routes.

Paul Sutton, Jaynic's planning director, said although the company recognised the impacts on traffic, he didn't think they would be significant.

He added: "We believe the additional wording will help to minimise the potential impact of increased traffic on the local road network and provide a sound way of monitoring operational trip routes.

"The [liaison group] condition will allow effective public engagement and involvement in the development of the site and help to ensure the monitoring of and adherence to planning conditions."

Several councillors, however, said although the traffic impact was not considered by the applicant, or Suffolk Highways, to reach the threshold for refusal, it would still lead to a significant impact on residents.

Concerns were also raised throughout both meetings over Copart UK, which was initially proposed as the end user of the site before pulling out of the development in October.

Addressing this, Jaynic said the development was likely to attract business interest from an expanding sector, with the council being able to determine if the development required any amendments from a new occupier.

Mr Sutton said Jaynic would appeal the refusal due to the company having invested significant time and money into the proposals.

In the report, the officer's opinion stated that if the decision went to an appeal, it had a very reasonable chance of success which could lead to costs being awarded against the council.

But Cllr Andy Neal, who voted for the refusal, said a decision should not be made in fear of a possible appeal result.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Lord warned against appealing as it would only divide the local community.

He added: "We're delighted with the result, it demonstrates that the support across the community in opposing this proposal was really fought for and listened to loud and clear.

"This may have been the right type of development on a commercial level but this was the entirely wrong location for it."