Campaigners' fears for environment

A CONTROVERSIAL road which has cut a 20ft strip through idyllic water meadows has brought fresh fears for campaigners fighting to safeguard what is left of the town centre site.

A CONTROVERSIAL road which has cut a 20ft strip through idyllic water meadows has brought fresh fears for campaigners fighting to safeguard what is left of the town centre site.

Pensioner Doreen Tilley claimed expansion plans by brewing giant Greene King for its beer warehouse in Bury St Edmunds, close to the access road of Cullum Road, means more of the meadows will be eaten away.

But bosses have said they are committed to safeguarding wildlife on the vast majority of the water meadows owned by the firm, and the hard surface to be constructed next to the ale warehouse was "permitted development" on an area of little wildlife value.

A meeting of St Edmundsbury Borough Council's planning committee looks set to approve the application for additional storage on the site when it meets on Thursday.


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Mrs Tilley, who fought a four-year battle against the access road and won support from eco-warriors who camped in trees in its path, said she was concerned for the rest of the meadows.

"I think it (the planned expansion) is bad news for the meadows as more and more of it goes under concrete and tarmacadam – it's just more and more undergrowth and vegetation that's being eaten up."

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She said the completion of the road represented a sad day for her and her fellow campaigners: "It's what I expected. It's an eyesore and I'm very sorry it's happened.

"And I can't see the meadows staying as they are for long. It may not happen in my lifetime but with changes of Government and of the council I can't see them being left alone for long."

However, Greene King spokeswoman Frances Brace said the plans for the storage did not encroach on the 93% of the meadows owned by the firm which had been pledged for nature conservation.

And Michael Crombie, the firm's chief engineer, said: "I sincerely hope that the people who oppose the plans will soon begin to see significant urban and rural benefits. We're looking forward to seeing the land mature into a valuable nature conservation area over the coming years."

The barriers currently blocking the road will come down for the first time tomorrow as drays leave the brewery's site via Cullum Road for the first time.

John Redman, the firm's brewing and distribution director, insists it will bring huge benefits for the residents of Bury St Edmunds.

"When we first made the planning application five years ago, we said that the road would benefit our neighbours by taking hundreds of lorry and car movements from outside their front doors," he said.

"Since that time, we've increased our workforce and doubled our brewing. Extra activity and employment are good news for the town but they generate more traffic.

"The access road allows us to deliver on our promise, diverting all but a very small proportion of our lorry and car movements away from the residential and historic streets of the town."

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