Jobs warning issued over West Norfolk fuel firm expansion bid
Dozens of jobs could be put at risk if a West Norfolk company's expansion proposals are blocked, it has been claimed.
Borough council planning officials have backed plans for the Big K site at Whittington ahead of a committee meeting next week.
But some nearby residents have accused the company of showing "no consideration" for their neighbours.
Big K, which has operated for more than 30 years, supplies firewood and charcoal products using British timber from its Whittington site and premises in north London.
A report to West Norfolk Council's planning committee said it employs 57 permanent staff, plus 10 agency workers in peak periods.
The company is seeking permission for new warehouse, storage and office facilities, plus extra parking, following the demolition of existing piggery buildings on land adjacent to its present location.
It says the plan, which is expected to create five new jobs, will reduce lorry movements caused by the present need to store wood off-site, as well as creating a more comfortable working environment.
The company's supporting case said: "The application represents a significant investment by Big K, and signifies their commitment to West Norfolk.
"If it is not possible to expand the operation at Whittington Hill, Big K will need to consider relocating, meaning the loss of a number of jobs, or switching to importing timber from Eastern Europe as many of their competitors do, rather than continuing to promote British timber."
Parish councillors have given their support to the plan, while statutory consultees also raised no objections.
But three letters of objection have been submitted by members of the public, voicing concerns about noise, as well as traffic on the nearby B1112 and A134.
One comment claimed there had been "no consideration given to residents", while others said the noise would be "unbearable" and the scheme had "no place" in the area.
Another comment added: "It seems unjust to build a new factory units in a developing residential area when more suitable locations in industrial locations are available."
But planning officials, who have recommended the scheme for approval, said the application was "broadly in accordance" with planning guidelines and conditions were being sought to minimise the potential impact on residents.
They reported: "Careful consideration has been given to the impact of the scheme on residential amenity for those neighbouring dwellings.
"This impact is not considered so detrimental as to warrant the refusal of the application."
The application is due to be considered during a meeting at Lynn Town Hall next Monday, November 8.