Outrage as council lets lorries back into town

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COUNCILLORS are exploring legal avenues after a fiercely protected haulage ban was lifted.

Councillors from Forest Heath District Council and Brandon Town Council were outraged after Breckland Council’s development control committee lifted a ban on lorries owned by David Watson Transport Ltd passing through Brandon.

Up to 15 of the haulage firm’s vehicles will now be able to pass through the town’s High Street and London Road every day.

Councillors fear that the extra vehicles will only worsen Brandon’s traffic problems.

The reaction to the decision was compounded by objectors – which included Suffolk, Forest Heath and Brandon Town councils – not being informed of last Wednesday’s meeting.

Now councillors say they will look at what legal steps can be taken for them being unable to make representations.

The committee ignored recommendations from Breckland’s own planning department to keep the ban and Bill Bishop, Forest Heath councillor for Brandon West, reacted angrily to the news.

“I think it’s terrible, absolutely awful.

“This development control committee are ridiculous and I am going to find out what we can do because we were not even told about the meeting,” he said.

Tony Simmons, a Brandon town councillor, raised concerns about the proposals last month and said he was ‘shocked’ by the decision.

“Breckland have neglected us because we are over the border and they haven’t allowed us to go to the meeting.

“I’m not comfortable with it, there should have been proper consultation,” he said.

Brandon resident Victor Lukaniuk objected to the application.

“I think it’s a disgrace, I am incandescent with rage.

“They have slipped it under the radar without informing us of when the meeting was.

“We were led to believe that they would inform us.

“If that’s democracy at work then it’s little wonder that people are suspicious of councils.”

A spokesman for Breckland said its policy was to advise objectors of where they could track an application’s progress.

Objectors are also told that they can make representations online.

Appearing at the committee meeting, David Watson rebutted claims from objectors that his vehicles would increase pollution and were ‘dirty’.

Following the meeting, Mr Watson said: “I am delighted at the decision.

“I would like to thank the Breckland councillors for using common sense.

“Our lorries don’t carry sand and dirt, they have the lightest engines and won’t add to the traffic problem.”

Mr Watson said the decision would save his company around £62,000 a year in drivers’ hours and fuel costs.