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Signs may have to come down

PUBLISHED: 15:18 18 June 2008 | UPDATED: 14:36 07 July 2010

Villagers who have been calling for action against a rendering plant near their homes have now found it is they who are facing possible proceedings.

Protesters in Great Witchingham put up signs as part of their battle against plans by nearby Banham Compost to build a rendering plant.

Villagers who have been calling for action against a rendering plant near their homes have now found it is they who are facing possible proceedings.

Protesters in Great Witchingham put up signs as part of their battle against plans by nearby Banham Compost to build a rendering plant.

Although the plans were thrown out earlier this year, an appeal is expected against the decision.

But now small businesses with the large signs against the scheme put up around the village, including one opposite the pub in the village, one at Johnson's Garage forecourt and another near a wildlife park, are being told by Broadland Council to take them down or face enforcement action.

Broadland says it has had complaints about the signs, but after consideration only decided to take action after the planning decision had been made - it says to allow public debate.

Sally Acloque, who lives next door to Johnsons Garage, which has been asked to take down a sign, said some villagers were horrified that those with signs could face prosecution while nothing is being done about Banham's rendering plant.

“The village feels very strongly this is unfair,” she said. “There is this great big rendering plant sat there without permission yet our small people with small business are facing prosecution.

“I don't think there is anyone against these posters, except anyone who might want to sell a house. But then any search would find the building the rendering plant.”

The Bridge Inn pub at Lenwade has also been told to take its sign down. But land lady Vicky Forder said the sign was not on the pub's land, but the parish council's.

“We had to fight tooth and nail to stop Banham but then they go and want to prosecute us,” she said. “They are trying to get rid of the signs all along the road.”

Broadland said it had been contacted by local residents requesting action against the signs, but that it decided not to do anything while the planning application for Banham Compost was undetermined - as it viewed the signs are part of the public debate.

It said Norfolk County Council was removing the signs from the highway and Broadland had requested signs on private land be taken down.

But said it would review this if Banham submitted another planning application or appealed the latest refusal.

Phil Courtier, head of development, management and conservation at Broadland, said: “The council has given lengthy consideration as to whether it is in the public interest to take action against Banham Compost.

“This matter has been considered by the council's planning committee, which took into account a number of relevant issues, including the company's intention to appeal Norfolk County Council's refusal of planning permission.

“Although it resolved not to pursue enforcement action at present, this decision will be reviewed if circumstances change again in the future.”

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