Thu, 18 Jul 2019
EAST Ilsley villagers have expressed their concerns over plans to convert agricultural research buildings into 15 industrial units.
The buildings, at Ilsley Barn Farm, are currently used for occasional storage purposes.
The applicant, Beeswax Dyson Ltd, claims its plans offer the potential to diversify a brownfield site which is no longer suitable for modern farming.
However, the proposals have so far attracted nine letters of objection, with criticisms ranging from the impact on the AONB to children's safety.
The plans were discussed at an East Ilsley Parish Council meeting on Monday.
The meeting attracted 20 residents, and the concerns of villagers were voiced by local architect Stuart Hall.
Chief among these was the increased traffic the development was likely to bring to the area.
Mr Hall said: “As we know, there’s a single-track road, which really isn’t able to support the level of traffic coming and going.
“The highways report that’s been commissioned says [that] maybe 170 additional trips a day [will be made through the village].
“It talks about vehicles, but as the units are fitted with roller shutter doors, I imagine this will involve a high number of larger wheel-based vehicles – vans, lorries...”
Much of the traffic, he said, would be directed through East Ilsley.
Mr Hall commended Beeswax Dyson for the facility’s design, said to be in keeping with the rural character of the area.
However, he said he believed that the proposal failed to respect the site’s status as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
“The impact on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is substantial,” he said.
“For a start, the increase in traffic that we just talked about is absolutely not something that is commensurate with the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
“The large area of car parking that’s visible for miles around … is just not something that respects the AONB.”
In his closing remarks, Mr Hall drew attention to the existence of several unlet units in the area, mitigating the need for further development.
He urged the council to reconsider its support for the proposal.
A large part of the meeting was dedicated to addressing villagers’ concerns over a lack of consultation on planning matters.
It was claimed by several present that Beeswax Dyson had failed to reach out to Compton and East Ilsley residents.
Acting chairman Andrew Sharp acknowledged their concerns, saying: “It [the development] was meant to be very, very light work.
“It wasn’t meant to be mechanical or anything like that.”
However, he did not believe the council had any right to retroactively withdraw its greenlighting of the application.
Most of the objections come from the residents of Sunrise Hill, the road which leads up to the proposed development.
In their objection, Paul and Ruth Taylor state: "The road up to the farm is a single track lane not designed for traffic from 15 industrial units.
"This increase in traffic would seriously affect the six houses at the bottom of the lane and also the two bungalows at the top of the lane that are not yet occupied."
Beeswax Dyson takes its namesake from vacuum magnate Sir James Dyson, who held a directorship at the firm until 2018.
The bulk of its ventures are in agriculture, though it also invests in commercial property.