Councils and villagers unite to oppose industrial ‘blot on the landscape’

PLANS to expand an industrial site which could create almost 40 new jobs have been attacked as a ‘blot on the landscape’ and ‘detrimental to the countryside’.

Sustainable Drainage Systems (SDS), based on the Castle Mills industrial estate on the A38 in Biddisham, has applied to Sedgemoor District Council to extend its current premises.

The firm, which manufactures water systems, wants to increase the site from almost two square kilometres to just under four square kilometres including a new storage building on agricultural land.

SDS owner Patrick Cullen says the site will benefit the area because it will create 36 more jobs and benefit local workers already employed at the site.

However, nearby parish councils and residents have submitted formal objections to the proposals.

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Badgworth Parish Council has argued the application was ‘not acceptable when located so close to neighbouring properties’ and added that using a greenfield site for a storage building ‘sets a precedent for eroding agricultural land in the countryside’.

Compton Bishop Parish Council’s objection said: “This is a major industrial development which will have serious detrimental impact on the countryside, is unsuitable and out of keeping for a rural settlement.

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“The development would have serious detrimental effect on the lives of people who live close by.

“Like any development that harms the countryside, this one will have a detrimental effect on tourists who visit Somerset because of its natural beauty.”

A couple who live near the site have also registered their objections.

ID and CJ Snook, of Bristol Road, Biddisham, said: “We feel that the proposed building will be far too big for a small, rural village and will be a blot on the landscape.

“The current SDS building can be seen from the top of Crook Peak so there is no doubt that the proposed new building will not blend in to the landscape as it is treble the size.

“Noise levels will rise during the day and appear significantly higher at night.”

Patrick Cullen, owner and managing director of Sustainable Drainage Solutions, said: “What we are doing is providing a better manufacturing environment and bringing another 40 jobs to the area on top of the people we employ at the moment.

“I don’t know how the Government can say they will create more jobs if we are hindered.

“I think it is important that we look after the employees that we have and their families, and potential new jobs in our forward-thinking company.

“We want to work with local people, not against them.”

The consultation period has now closed and Sedgemoor District Council will announce its decision in the next few months.

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