Controversial plans for the expansion of a storage container site in Bacton have been approved by planners, with the creation of a management plan for deliveries and a community liaison group.

Portable Space already uses land at Red House Farm Rectory for the storage and refurbishing of shipping containers, with the expansion to provide new space for storage of equipment and portable containers.

Part of the planning application to Mid Suffolk District Council's planning committee was retrospective because the company already uses land on the site and at Jacksons Farm, in breach of planning regulations.

A condition of the council’s approval was the creation of a deliveries management plan, overseeing the number of deliveries and their access points, along with a community liaison group for the airing of any concerns and breaches.

But councillor Terry Lawrence, of Needham Market, was not convinced about the enforceability of the conditions.

East Anglian Daily Times:

He said: “I’m very concerned about this deliveries management proposal because it doesn’t seem to me that it is enforceable whatsoever. It’s already being diluted. It seems that the company itself has ridden roughshod over planning regulations and the local community.

“The applicant in the past has demonstrated clear contempt for planning regulations. He is now subject to two planning enforcement requirements. It does not show that the liaison committee and a driving management plan will be effective in this case.”

Arthur Peak, representing Great Ashfield Parish Council, said at the planning meeting: “Lorry movements and traffic are the number one concern expressed at our meetings by the public. Large lorries with overhanging containers that are the same width of the lanes have no place on our roads. There is no room to pass safely. Appropriate traffic on appropriate roads is our mantra.”

Chair Sarah Mansel said she had personally encountered Portable Spaces' lorries while out cycling and running on the narrow lanes and asked: "What are the lorry drivers meant to do if they meet a horse, or a family out cycling on those roads? What are they advised to do because there is nowhere for them to go? I’m fit enough to jump off and lift my bike into the verge.”

Mark Dolman, managing director of Portable Space, said: "The drivers are instructed both on induction and on a regular basis that if they come across a horse or somebody on a bike they are to stop and allow the person to pass safely and they can resume their journey."

He added: “We are a very proud Suffolk business. We have no desire to upset any local parish council. I have not received a single complaint from a resident that there’s been a problem with our lorries on lanes in 10 years. If we don’t hear about things, we can’t make them right.”

The committee eventually approved the expansion (6-2), with conditions of a community liaison group, delivery management plan, soft landscaping including tree planting, and the removal of containers from Jacksons Farm within twelve months.