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Company's controversial application to build on Reydon Smere refused

PUBLISHED: 10:46 06 March 2015

Residents of Reydon Smere opposed plans for a new storage warehouse. The reed beds that are an integral part of the Smere.

Residents of Reydon Smere opposed plans for a new storage warehouse. The reed beds that are an integral part of the Smere.

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Residents who succeeded in their campaign to stop a warehouse being built close to an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) have another fight on their hands after the company behind the plan said it would appeal the decision.

Waveney District Council this week refused Global Chair Components’ application to build a large storage shed near Reydon Smere after case officer Iain Robertson highlighted its “significant adverse visual impact”.

He also said the firm, which manufactures chairs and office furniture for firms across Europe, had not “fully explored” alternative sites in the area which would allow the company to keep its local workforce, without developing near an AONB.

However Global Chair managing director Darryl Dawson said the decision was “short-sighted” and said the company intended to “aggressively pursue” the matter, with a “strong professional team” to represent them.

“We are very disappointed that the planning officers have not even attempted to refer this application to the Waveney District Council, which would have resulted in a debate and decision in open forum,” he said.

“Whilst most of the public noise - from a very small group - reported in the press over this application has been in relation to the Smere, this in reality is misconceived and would have probably been the most insignificant consideration in coming to a balanced decision based on all the facts.

“Reydon Parish Council has twice voted in favour of the development, which must signify wider local support.

“We believe that we have an excellent chance of achieving a positive result which to all intents and purposes would be in line with the current direction of UK government policy.”

In his report detailing the reasons for the refusal, Mr Robertson said: “The location and design of the proposed building would have a significant adverse visual impact on the surrounding landscape.”

“It is not considered that the public interest of the proposal in terms of economic benefit and employment opportunities would outweigh the harm that this development would cause to the AONB.

“The applicant has not demonstrated an overriding national need for development and that no alternative site can be found.”

Robert Kelsey, spokesman for the Save the Smere campaign, said: “I’m very pleased that Waveney had the wisdom to see through the unprovable promises and threats of the applicant and judge this application on its planning merits, or otherwise.

“Unfortunately, Reydon Smere - a locally popular and highly-valued AONB has seen one attempt after another at what can only be described as ‘planning gain’ - the attempt to convert farming land into development land.”

Another objector to the scheme, John Perkins of the Southwold and Reydon Society said: “This decision reinforces the importance of preserving the countryside.

“It would have set a dreadful precedent, not just for Reydon but for the whole of Waveney. Every field and open space would have been under threat .

“We believe a solution can be found locally which will mean the company not having to relocate as it has threatened and we hope they will work with Waveney to resolve the issue.”

What do you think? Write, giving your full contact details, to: Journal Postbox, 147 London Road North, Lowestoft NR32 1NB or email andrew.papworth@archant.co.uk

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