W Dereham PC _ Glazewing Meeting minutes
Notes of a meeting between West Dereham Parish Council and the new owners of Glazewing
WEST DEREHAM PARISH COUNCIL
NOTES OF THE SPECIAL PUBLIC MEETING
7.30pm THURSDAY 13 NOVEMBER 2008
IN THE VILLAGE HALL
Panel : Claire Cann - Chair Parish Council
Doreen Berry- Parish Councillor Russell Drew- Parish Councillor
Barry Glover- Parish Councillor
Paddy Murfitt- Parish Councillor
Vice Chair Parish Council
Christopher Fraser MP - Chairing the meeting
Cllr Richard Rockliffe- NCC
Cllr Trevor Manley -BCKL&WN
John Eastgate- Highways NCC
Peter Riches- Norfolk Constabulary
Simon Miles- Glazewing Ltd
Jon Miles Glazewing Ltd
David Grief Glazewing Ltd
Peter Burgess Glazewing Ltd
Ms Lindsay Goward - Note taker (Parish Clerk)
26 members of the public
Claire Cann welcomed the panel and the members of the public to the meeting and introduced the members of the panel. CC explained that the meeting was the agreed follow up from the meeting held this May. Christopher Fraser MP has agreed to chair the main meeting.
2. Letter from Malcolm Grief
CC read out a letter from Malcolm Grief (copy attached to notes) in which he resigned from the parish council and expressed concerns about some members of the PC being against the development of local businesses. CC said she supported MG's right to express his personal opinions because tonight's meeting was about the freedom of any villager to do the same. She stated categorically that the PC was not against local business; everyone acknowledged the necessity of a healthy rural economy and indeed there were a number of businesses within the village. But the reason Glazewing had become an issue in West Dereham was because its rapid growth had taken it from a small business that could sit relatively comfortably beside a small, essentially residential village to a vast and ever growing industrial concern which affects the home lives of a significant number of villagers. At this point CC handed over the meeting to Christopher Fraser to chair.
- Introduction from Christopher Fraser MP
Christopher Fraser welcomed everyone to the meeting. He explained that he was chairing the meeting as his role was to stand up for the views of local people and many people have contacted him about the issues of Glazewing and Station Road. He said he hoped to be impartial as the meeting's chair. In response to MG's letter he stated that he agreed that the rural economy must diversify but that was not the issue for tonight's meeting.
Christopher Fraser stated that in the last meeting in May many concerns were raised but he had felt that the meeting was positive and people had put their views calmly and succinctly. He hoped that tonight's meeting would be on a similar line.
He welcomed Simon and Jon Miles as the new owners of Glazewing, and said he felt sure from his brief conversation with them that they are aware of the issues for Glazewing and the village, and like everyone in the village are looking for a solution. Christopher Fraser said at the last meeting we were promised a six month period when progress was expected on the new access road, but maybe due to the Glazewing changes it would be unrealistic to expect this. He also requested that he be given the minutes promptly after this meeting so that everything is fresh in his mind when he reads them.
4. Glazewing Update
Christopher Fraser invited Simon and Jon Miles to give an update. They said that they were aware of the discussions about the access road when they were negotiating for the business six months ago. The negotiations did take Malcolm and David Grief out of the business for several months which has delayed the process. Peter Burgess was not informed of the proposed sale of the business at the last meeting and was therefore not aware that the six month time limit would be unachievable. The Miles brothers were made aware of the situation on 1st August, but since then survival has been their priority due to the economic climate. They have been looking at all the options available regarding an access road but need to resolve certain matters before it can be taken forward. Jon Miles stated that they are committed to developing an access road.
CF asked at the last meeting Glazewing had a planning consultant with them who said that he was drawing plans and finalising land purchase; has this happened or been progressed. Peter Burgess said the option was still available but plans not drawn up. CF said that the plans need to be completed and put forward.
CF asked Jon Miles what are the plans for the development of Glazewing. Jon Miles said that Glazewing is part of a group of southern companies and are looking at business development for the whole group not just the Glazewing part and plans are in early stages and dependent on the economy.
Peter Burgess stated that the company operates within the confines of legislation in terms of traffic and the company have imposed a voluntary 20mph speed limit on all lorries and in the last few months the PC has commended them for this. Villages are encouraged to report speeding and other problems directly to the company rather than leaving it for PC meetings. CC stated that it is very difficult in reality to do this as it is impossible to catch the numbers of speeding lorries. She herself had had to chase a speeding lorry up to Glazewing the other week. Peter Burgess said that all complaints are logged and actioned.
Paddy Murfitt (PM) asked whether suppliers and contract lorries have been advised to comply with the 20mph. PB said that all regular contractors and suppliers have been written to and advised to adhere to 20 mph on Station Road.
CF said that if the access road was developed many of these problems would be solved. CF said he felt that communication was now better between Glazewing and residents but we need to move forward on the access road. CF asked whether we are now in another 6 month cycle waiting for the road plans. Jon Miles stated that he cannot make a commitment to six months as he does not know what problems might be encountered but hopes to have definite plans available as soon as practical.
Cllr Richard Rockliffe stated as a councillor when the plans are submitted he will do everything to ensure a swift passage through planning and will work with the planning department to help the cooperation.
Cllr Trevor Manley said having until recently lived in West Dereham he was aware of what Station Road residents suffered. Although the plans for the road will be a County Council decision the Borough Council will be consulted. He will ensure that all residents in Station Road are given details of the planning application and he urges residents to respond to plans whether they agree or disagree. He will also try to ensure that plans go through the planning process as quickly as possible.
It was confirmed that Glazewing still had a 24 hour haulage license and it was asked whether that included the loading and unloading of lorries. It was confirmed that the license allowed for the collection and delivery of lorries and trailers, the picking up and putting down of skips but not processing.
CF asked the Miles brothers whether the statement made on the 9th May that Glazewing was actively involved in trying to purchase the land for the road was still true or had the land been brought or were plans shelved. Jon Miles explained that option was still on the table but other options were being considered and the concept was still out there. There had been some difficulties with original route (e.g. soil and irrigation) but it is still an option.
John Eastgate (NCC) said that he has been working with Glazewing over the highways implication of the new access roads and whilst there are issues he thinks there will be nothing insurmountable but you never know until plans are submitted and other agencies such as the Environmental Agency get involved.
PM asked whether the new access road will be the sole access route to Glazewing premises or will it be Station Road and the new road. JE stated that planning may control this decision and NCC will be looking at a closing off the bottom of Station Road. It is anticipated that this closure order would apply to HGVs only.
PM asked whether it is the wish of Glazewing managers to use Station Road or whether they plan to use the new road as the sole access. JM replied that he has not looked at this level of detail and it must be remembered that there is a public right of way at the top of Station Road.
PM said that regards Health and Safety it is the individuals with an old trailer with two cars wrecks poorly strapped on where accidents may occur. Peter Riches (Norfolk Constabulary) said that this would be a road traffic offence, if something falls off a lorry or if a load appears dangerous this should be reported to the police. If this was a regular occurrence people should take the number of the vehicle. The police have increased patrols and are working closely with Glazewing and have been doing spot checks at the weighbridge. This joint work has resulted in prosecutions.
CF asked what the police would do if they received a report of a dangerous load in these circumstances. PR said he believes that the control room would send the nearest patrol car but by then it would probably too late to catch the offender.
PM clarified that what he asking was whether it was the intention of the new Glazewing owners that the new access road will be the prescribed route for all commercial vehicles going to Glazewing.
John Eastgate said that his understanding was that the new access road be signed as the route as the current access route is signed. CC said that today she has seen two lorries using Lime Kiln as a route to Glazewing and this is an increasingly common occurrence. CC thought that it seems often these are the foreign non English speaking drivers who use the wrong route. CC said the use of all village roads by these particular HGVs is a direct result of Glazewing being in the village.
CC asked what type of road surface will be on the new access road, will it be a track just for HGVS or suitable for all vehicles. It was answered that it will be road suitable for vehicles, at this time the details had not been decided this will be included in plans.
5. Public Questions
i) Are there still two types of planning applications, could an outline planning application be put in at this stage to speed up the process , this outline permission if granted would be valid for three years.
Richard Rockliffe said that the best way forward was as soon as they had control of the land that Glazewing can get designs and he can talk to the technical people to get plans in so they have a smoother passage. He said there is not a pre-planning application process. It was stated by John Eastgate that a detailed plan is preferred and is important that we get an application which will be right and get planning permission quickly.
CF asked whether the current situation was do you have to own the land to put in a planning application.
JE said no but would be silly to do so as it would be a commercially sensitive.
Trevor Manley said that once the plans are submitted various agencies will be involved and he hoped that we could all work together to move the plans forward.
ii) The public has been told for several years that Glazewing were trying to buy a piece of land to complete the access road. We are told tonight that it is still not purchased what happens if you can't get the piece land. With respect to the Miles brothers we have been told since 2004 that there is a commitment for the road but no progress has been made and not being able to buy the land is still blamed. This why many of us think we have been given empty promises and have doubted the company's commitment to take this matter forward.
Jon Miles said he was not aware that it was since that time but has been asking similar questions. They considered that the access road was vital for the business and will look to take the matter forward. They are aware that negotiations have been going on but have other options to develop the road.
iii) As we have no road Station Road is disintegrating are there plans to repair or resurface it?
John Eastgate said that work is planned to repair and patch the road. It is not true what had been said by a member of the public at a previous PC meeting that the NCC had run out of funds to do this. He is currently scheduling work but needs to get clear access and is planning to do the work on a Sunday. When the access road is open and the HGVs are no longer using it the NCC will bring it back up to standard.
iv) Most people in the village welcome the Miles brothers as the new owners; however in the press release announcing the sale it stated that they planned to develop Glazewing from the south. We are concerned that this will lead to an increase in traffic from the A10 coming on the Ryston and Hilgay Roads. What are the company's expansion plans and will there be additional traffic flow from the South.
Jon Miles said that press releases can be misleading as they try to put a very positive spin in the trade press. Any development in the business in Glazewing in West Dereham would need the access Road.
If this development is in the South would this bring more lorries from a further distance, are they anticipating an increased flow from the south?
Jon Miles said that he anticipated a traditional flow of traffic. They do intend to develop their companies in the south, but the southern development is for the group as a whole not necessarily Glazewing.
John Eastgate said that the HGVs restrictions through the village (set for sugar beet traffic) are not easily enforceable. He is looking to change from area based weight restrictions to point restrictions, as he does not want Hilgay Road and Ryston Road to have increased traffic.
v) Claire Cann asked even with the new road do they intend to expand the size of or operations at their 12 acre site in West Dereham.
Jon Miles said they could not say but had no specific plans at this time.
vi) What was told to us by Mr Phillips (planning consultant) in May does not seem to have happened. There have been some improvements in speed, although many still go fast. There are still over filled lorries, uncovered lorries and debris falling off lorries travelling to Glazewing. (A picture was shown of a cast iron wheel which had fallen off near houses on Station Road.) The resident said that Mr Burgess had quickly arranged its removal. Could Glazewing not turn away unsafe loads.
Mr Burgess said that at this stage it is safer to unload the vehicles. They have been working closely with the police to do spot checks on vehicles arriving at the centre and this has resulted in action. Drivers are reminded to cover vehicles and all new vehicles auto-sheeted.
Jon Eastgate said that if there were continuous breaches Glazewing has an operator's license from the Eastern Traffic Commission at Cambridge. The police can report breaches to the traffic commission.
Peter Riches of the police said that they are stretched and the most efficient way to police breaches in road traffic rules is to work with other agencies to blitz an area. They have increased patrols in West Dereham but still if the public contact the police there is unlikely to be an officer near enough to catch an offender while they are still in the village.
vii) Is the old railway track still an option as the access road. As the resident of Abbey Station house would the start of the new access road likely to be the entrance of the yard, between the two houses.
Jon Miles said he can't give a commitment and the route for the new access road has not been decided on.
viii) PM asked that it is understood that Glazewing has two operators' license one which allows for the running of HGVs 24/7. What is allowed in the terms of this license?
Peter Burgess said that the license allowed them to park lorries, couple and uncouple trailers, and to pick up skips. PM questioned whether picking up and putting down loads constituted working which was outside planning regulations. It was confirmed that the working hours was 7am until 7pm Monday to Friday and 7 until 1 on a Saturday. John Eastgate said that the Eastern Traffic Commission could put restrictions on running times. The licenses are up for renewal in March 2009. Highways can only object to the license on the grounds that the point of the access on to the highway is unsuitable not on the grounds of road type.
iix) The skips and trailers stored along the track parallel to the river are an eyesore have they permission to store there. PM said in his opinion this constituted a storage yard or car park and surely planning permission is required for this. PM said he felt it was a new storage area that area was more recently concreted and expanded.
Peter Burgess said they were very attractive and he believed they had permission and in 2005 were told there were no environmental irregularities. John Eastgate said he would check with planning whether they had permission to store skips in that area.
ix) If the new access road was from the south of Glazewing West Dereham would be out of the picture and many of the above problems would go. It is therefore surprising that Glazewing are being so woolly about the access road. Will it be from the South and what will the land and road cost?
The situation is currently very woolly but they have been talking to the landowners of the land to the south. Have been talking but there are problems with regard purchasing the land and civil engineering issues. These are being investigated and until all issues are known the cost of the options can't be evaluated.
It is hoped that Southside option is carefully considered.
Simon Miles reiterated that he hopes to come back with the options as soon as possible.
What are the Southside problems?
Soil type, drainage, width, river access and issues from the environmental agencies.
It is hoped that these reasons would not be used as an excuse not to do a southern access.
Simon Miles said when the options are known details will be given to the PC. Richard Rockliffe said that it must be understood that some people will not sell land whatever the price. The land could not be compulsorily purchased.
It was asked whether we could know the situation whether the preferred route is North or South. It was explained that this might be commercially sensitive to give details.
CF asked whether they would be prepared to share options and possible routes. It could give a better understanding of the actions being taken and highlight the problems that may be encountered. It would show the companies commitment and desire to resolve the issue. CF said that he would hate to see the village with no answers and the Miles brothers blamed at a future meeting.
A member of the public said she felt very deflated about the outcome of the meeting. The village has waited five years but now need something positive like a definite timetable at the next meeting.
CF said he was also very disappointed and had to say that it would be very unfortunate if this situation should continue another three to four years. Communities need to work together to find solutions to this type of problem. In the past Malcolm Grief has often put his case very forcibly to CF and he has had to point out to that he is not looking for this problem and neither are the villagers.
Christopher Fraser asked the Miles Brothers to put their thoughts regarding the new access road and a proposed timetable in writing to the PC by the beginning of December.
This will give a clear message of their commitment and planned positive action to the local community. It should outline the way forward which will stop things dragging. He is chairing this meeting impartially but he will fight for the villages and if no progress is made in future meetings he may sit in the audience with the residents.
He acknowledged that some people have moved in after business was there and we need to accept that there is a business, but the business has expanded and we need to get the right balance. He hoped that the economy will pick up and that Glazewing can reemploy people.
It was commented that if they were planning a southern access road it must be British Sugar from whom they are trying to buy the land off. CF said he had contacts with British Sugar and would be happy to sit down with Glazewing and British Sugar and help with the land negotiations, if the Miles brothers wanted this help.
Christopher Fraser closed the meeting by thanking the Miles brothers and other panel members for attending. He was sorry that there was not a more positive outcome but hoped that very soon we will find a positive way to resolve this situation.
The meeting closed at 9.15pm.