Top Suffolk barrister warns £35million Copella site plan for Boxford farm 'must be refused'
PUBLISHED: 17:50 22 September 2017 | UPDATED: 17:50 22 September 2017
A top barrister from Suffolk has spoken out in a planning row over proposals for a multi-million pound expansion he fears may threaten the tranquillity of Constable Country.
Leavenheath resident and high profile barrister Paul Stinchcombe QC said plans to expand the Copella juice site in Boxford “must be refused” as he warned traffic along rural roads could have a detrimental impact on Dedham Vale, considered an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Lodging an objection to the proposals, Mr Stinchcombe said the expansion was unsustainable and intrusive.
Under the £35million plans by Copella’s parent company Konings, buildings could be increased to process and can material imported from Belgium.
HGV traffic, which will be conveyed along rural roads, is projected to increase to 628 movements per week or 32,600 per year.
Mr Stinchcombe said: “This location is not just less sustainable than alternatives, but inherently unsustainable. As such this proposal offends against the central tenet of local and national planning policy, as well as policies intended to protect an AONB. It must, therefore, be refused.”
He added: “It is impossible to conclude that development of this scale and type, and the HGVs generated, can conserve the landscape and scenic beauty of the AONB, let alone its tranquillity.”
Konings Boxford site manager Phil Clark insisted that the firm are “good neighbours” and are continuing to review feedback. He said: “Konings UK is looking to invest £35m into its Boxford site, home of the iconic Copella brand, hence securing the current 90 jobs here, plus creating an additional 116 high quality roles.
“As a good neighbour, we have met with many local residents and organisations over the last few months. Indeed, we continue to review aspects of our proposals to minimise highways and environmental impacts based on feedback received. We believe that there are exceptional circumstances, as well as an overwhelming business and employment case, as to why planning permission should be granted in this case.”
The consultation stage for the plans has now ended and the full application will go before Babergh District Council’s planning committee in the near future.