Extension to Brake's national base in Bilsthorpe rejected by Newark and Sherwood planning committee
An extension to a food firm's national base was rejected by planners despite the fact it would have created 170 jobs in uncertain times for future employment.
In their report to committee professional planning officers used the phrase 'very finely balanced' in the determination of their recommendation to approve the expansion of Brake's distribution centre at Belle Eau Park, Bilsthorpe.
Grounds of employment benefits were favoured by officers over conservation harm of the visual impact for Grade II listed Hexgreave Hall and the Bilsthorpe Conservation Area.
The company, which currently employs 330 people, has the means to store frozen and ambient foodstuffs at a 32,000sqm centre that is in the open countryside. It had planning permission already to increase its footprint by 14,000sqm and had applied for a further 7,290sqm to include 132 additional parking spaces.
This was for chilled food storage, which some councillors viewed as effectively a new business and shouldn't have been applied for as an extension to an existing one.
Kirklington Parish Council had objected on a number of grounds such as additional HGV movements and the Kelham Bridge being "unfit for purpose."
Objections were echoed by Bilsthorpe Parish Council.
County council highways raised no objections.
The district council's conservation team raised concerns on the visual impact on Hexgreave Hall and the Bilsthorpe Conservation Area should the application for the extension, which would be taller than what is presently there, be approved.
Planning officers said there was a risk alternative premises elsewhere might have to be sought if it wasn't.
Local member Penny Rainbow said: "Proportional development it is not.
"It is not an industrial area, it is a rural area.
"Hexgreave Hall and Bilsthorpe Conservation Area are entrusted to us and we must protect them.
"This can't be achieved by painting a building and hoping it will blend in."
Mrs Rainbow said that lorry drivers were already either mistakenly or on purpose turning into nearby residential streets and in some instances parking up to await their timeslots at the distribution centre.
Mrs Rainbow said this could sometimes be overnight and that refrigeration units were left whirring and driveways were blocked.
There were opposing views. Mathew Skinner said he felt the economic benefits outweighed the concerns and that Newark and Sherwood was a good place to invest in.
Lee Brazier said Bilsthorpe was a deprived area and the site could only be reached by vehicle, leading him to speculate that the jobs provided might not be awarded to the people that needed them most.
Yvonne Woodhead said: "If we didn't want to put anything there, we shouldn't have."
Committee chairman Roger Blaney said: "I want the 170 jobs, but I want them in the right place and I'm not sure this is the right place."
The officer recommendation was voted down and then refusal was moved, seconded and carried on a majority vote.