Paintball centre plan opposed by residents

PLANS to set up a paintballing centre on the banks of the River Stour have angered residents living close to the proposed site.

Paintball Underworld is waiting to hear if its application to start a business on the former International Flavours and Fragrances (IFF) factory in Liston, near Long Melford, will be given the go-ahead by Braintree District Council.

Liston residents living along the minor road leading to the factory insist the development is unsuitable and have accused their parish council of failing to consult them before approving it.

At a Liston and Foxearth Parish Council meeting on Tuesday night Ian McMillan, from Liston, told councillors they had “behaved unforgivably” by not making it a priority to inform residents who would be directly affected by a paintball facility.

He said: “This will be an absolute disaster if it goes ahead. The road is not suitable for all the extra traffic that will be forced through Liston. We knew nothing about this. When something this serious is planned you [parish council] should have made it a priority to consult with residents to form an opinion before simply agreeing to it.”

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He also criticised the council for approving the plans just eight days into the four-week consultation period which ended on November 19.

But parish chairman Colin Flux said the application had been posted on the village notice board and was on Braintree District Council’s website.

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Fellow councillor Peter Highmore said he had spoken to three people in Liston who had all told him they had no problem with the application.

Liston resident Tony Clayton said relying on a small paragraph on the noticeboard was an unacceptable way to communicate.

Mr Flux said every effort would now be made to inform residents of planning applications via the village website and to hold open the parish council’s response on applications until the end of the consultation period.

The proposed attraction would see a maximum two paintballing sessions a day for up to 60 customers at a time, plus staff.

On top of the indoor paintball games there would be team-building activities, corporate events, plus hen, stag and birthday parties. The application states that it could potentially be used as a training facility to both military and security personnel.

The IFF factory dates back to the 1800s as a site for processing herbs, plants and spices. Operated by Bush Boake Allan Ltd from 1966 it was sold to IFF in 2002 and then to the current owners Redding Park Development in 2007.

A final decision on the proposal will be made by Braintree District Council.

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