Riverside paintball zone gets go-ahead

CONTROVERSIAL plans to set up a paintball activity centre on the banks of the River Stour have been given the go-ahead.

Braintree District Council approved the application on December 14, which will allow Paintball Underworld to establish twice-daily paintballing sessions for up to 60 customers on the former International Flavours and Fragrances (IFF) factory in Liston, near Long Melford.

The factory, which straddles the river, dates back to the early 1800s as a site for processing herbs, plants and spices. Paintball Underworld’s application includes converting buildings to house indoor paintball games, team-building activities, corporate events, plus hen, stag and birthday parties. It could also be used as a training facility to both military and security personnel.

The plans were criticised by many residents living in Liston who said the narrow country lanes leading to the site were unsuitable for the increased traffic.

During a Liston and Foxearth Parish Council meeting held shortly before the application was approved, Liston resident Ian McMillan said: “This will be an absolute disaster.

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“The road is not suitable for all the extra traffic that will be forced through Liston.”

District councillor and Green Party leader James Abbott said the application had been approved but with certain conditions.

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Mr Abbott, a member of the planning committee, said: “The factory was an industrial site until quite recently and was used by vehicles travelling to and from the area.

“All the paintball activities can only take place inside the designated building and not across the entire site.”

The paintball centre could provide up to 15 new jobs, with an additional boost to the local economy coming from the construction work needed to convert buildings.

The factory was operated by Bush Boake Allan Ltd from 1966 until 2002 when it was sold to IFF, who sold it to the current owners, Redding Park Development, in 2007.

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