Legal hiccup on Cantley expansion plan

A question mark hangs over whether controversial plans for a �35m scheme to extend the British Sugar factory at Cantley, near Yarmouth, might have to go back to the drawing board.

A question mark hangs over whether plans for a �35m scheme to extend the British Sugar factory at Cantley, near Yarmouth, might have to go back to the drawing board.

The plans, which would pave the way for all-year-round working at the plant with imported sugar cane being processed during the summer, were approved last month.

However, some Cantley residents are claiming they were not properly notified of the date and venue of the meeting at the Broads Authority's Norwich HQ and therefore lost the chance for a spokesman to put over their objections in a slot allocated for public speaking.

The Broads Authority is now taking legal advice to determine whether a possible oversight means the plans have to go back to the committee, and a decision is expected next week.

The dispute centres on an e-mail sent to Robert Beadle, chairman of Cantley Parish Council, by a Broads Authority official, which gave an assurance that "all parties who comment in writing on a planning application determined by the planning committee are sent a copy of the agenda".

Mr Beadle last night told the EDP: "I passed on the e-mailed assurance to a lot of people in the village who were asking when the meeting would be. However, many who relied on it received none of the promised information."

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He added that the date of the meeting was changed more than once with no apparent attempt to contact complainants.

Retired barrister Gary Simons, who lives in Cantley and shares concerns over the increase in lorry traffic and environmental impact of British Sugar's plans, said: "Many in Cantley and Limpenhoe who relied on this assurance were denied the opportun-ity to address the planning comm-ittee as they were entitled to do.

"Due process was not followed and the Broads Authority failed to take into account what it should have taken into account to satisfy legitimate expectations of many most directly affected by its decision."

Broads Authority spokesman Callie Smith said they were making legal inquiries, but stressed the planning meeting had been publicised.

A spokesman for British Sugar said they were aware of the dispute but would not comment until the Broads Authority had decided what to do.

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